While many children suffer meconium aspiration at birth with few long-term effects, some will develop meconium aspiration syndrome (MAS) as a result of breathing in the waste products they excreted in the womb.
Your doctor should have been aware of the following meconium aspiration syndrome symptoms during the delivery process:
- Dark green streaks in the amniotic fluid
- Green staining on the baby’s skin
- Cyanosis (a blue discoloration of the baby's skin from lack of oxygen)
- Breathing issues, such as interrupted breathing, rapid breaths, or difficulty taking in oxygen
- Low fetal heart rate
- Low Apgar scores in the moments after birth
- Limpness or poor motor responses
- Symptoms consistent with an overdue baby, such as overgrown fingernails
Children who do not receive immediate treatment may suffer complications, including aspiration pneumonia and permanent breathing problems. Children may need a high-frequency ventilator to open and feed oxygen into the baby's lungs, and may recuperate in a NICU for several weeks until the lungs are clear. If treatment is unsuccessful, the baby may undergo extra corporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), a form of cardiopulmonary bypass where the baby’s breathing and circulation are supported by an artificial heart and lung.
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