b2ap3_thumbnail_dec2021_newland1_shutterstock_1103569475.jpgEven though childbirth is a common medical procedure that is performed in hospitals on a daily basis, there are a variety of issues that can arise during labor and delivery that may result in birth injuries. If doctors, nurses, or other personnel that assist with childbirth do not take the correct measures to address complications or respond to potential concerns, a child or mother may suffer serious harm. Meconium aspiration is one issue that staff members should be aware of, and it can lead to a variety of health concerns for a child.

What Is Meconium Aspiration?

The first stool that a child passes after being born consists of meconium, which is a thick, tar-like substance. In some cases, a child may pass meconium while still in the womb. When meconium becomes mixed with the amniotic fluid, the child may inhale or aspirate this substance into their lungs during labor and delivery. This can lead to a condition known as meconium aspiration syndrome.

Meconium that is inhaled can block a child’s airways or coat the surface of their lungs, affecting their ability to absorb oxygen into the bloodstream. A lack of oxygen can lead to multiple types of injuries and health issues, including damage to a child’s brain that may result in cerebral palsy. If meconium aspiration syndrome is not treated properly, a child may also experience infections such as pneumonia, lung injuries that affect their ability to breathe, and increased blood pressure that may cause other ongoing health concerns.

In many cases, meconium aspiration occurs because of fetal distress during childbirth. A long or difficult delivery may increase the likelihood that a child will pass meconium. Other risk factors for meconium aspiration include birth after the child’s due date and health issues affecting the mother such as diabetes or high blood pressure. During labor and delivery, medical personnel should monitor the mother and child to look for signs of fetal distress and take steps to prevent meconium aspiration. 

Staff members should also respond quickly to symptoms of meconium aspiration in a newborn and provide immediate treatment to prevent this issue from causing the child to suffer injuries and ongoing health issues. This treatment may include suctioning a child’s airways to remove meconium and providing oxygen through a breathing tube or ventilator. Nitric oxide may also be administered to help blood vessels absorb oxygen. In serious cases, extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) may be used to make sure the child receives sufficient oxygen.

Contact Our Palatine Meconium Aspiration Lawyers

If your child suffered harm during pregnancy, labor, or delivery due to meconium aspiration or other issues Newland & Newland, LLP can investigate your case and help you determine whether these injuries occurred because of medical negligence. We will work to ensure that your family will have the financial resources to provide for your child’s needs. Contact our Arlington Heights birth injury attorneys at 847-797-8000 to arrange a complimentary consultation today.

Sources:

https://www.stanfordchildrens.org/en/topic/default?id=meconium-aspiration-90-P02384

https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/meconium.html

https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/001596.html

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