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Meconium aspiration syndrome: symptoms and treatments

Meconium aspiration syndrome is a birth injury that expecting mothers in Texas and around the country should know about. Meconium is the stool that infants pass before they start to feed on milk or formula. Usually, infants pass meconium after birth. Problems with the placenta or umbilical cord, though, can cause infants to pass meconium while in the uterus due to the stress caused by lower blood and oxygen supply.

When infants breathe this feces into their lungs (aspiration) while in the uterus, during delivery, or after birth, they may develop MAS. It is characterized by breathing problems and sometimes even periods of apnea. Rapid or noisy breathing are other symptoms. Infants may even develop cyanosis, or a bluish tint to their skin.

Those assisting at the delivery should be able to detect meconium in the amniotic fluid. Doctors may diagnose the condition via a blood gas test or chest X-ray. Before birth, though, a fetal monitor can alert doctors to the possibility of MAS if they find that the baby's heart rate is slower than normal.

In most cases, doctors simply need to warm, dry and stimulate the baby to treat the syndrome. If the baby has a low heart rate or isn't breathing, doctors can deliver oxygen to the baby's lungs through a face mask attached to an oxygen bag.

The negligence of a doctor or nurse can often be behind birth injuries. Parents of an injured baby may be able to file a malpractice claim and be reimbursed for medical expenses both past and future in addition to any non-economic damages like emotional suffering. Though MAS rarely leads to long-term health effects, others do. Parents in this type of situation might find it advisable to meet with an experienced attorney in order to see what recourse they might have.

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