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Meconium aspiration syndrome can be serious

Couples who are expecting a baby in Pittsburgh can be filled with anticipation and joy. Most deliveries go as planned but occasionally there is a birth injury which results in a serious birth injury. One such injury to the baby is called meconium aspiration.

Meconium aspiration is when a newborn breathes in a mix of meconium and amniotic fluid during delivery. Meconium is the baby's first stool. Meconium is one of the leading causes of severe injury and death among newborns and occurs in five to 10 percent of births. It occurs more frequently in labors that are stressed or in pregnancies where the baby is past its due date. Symptoms of meconium aspiration include the baby's skin being blue at birth, breathing problems, limpness of baby at birth and the presence of meconium in the amniotic fluid.

If meconium aspiration is suspected the baby's mouth should be suctioned as soon as the head can be seen during delivery. If the baby has a more serious condition it may need to be placed in the neonatal intensive care unit where treatments such as antibiotics and a breathing machine may need to be used. With babies that need to be placed on a respirator they could suffer from brain damage due to lack of oxygen and permanent lung damage.

It is important for medical providers to recognize the signs of meconium aspiration immediately. This can be a life-threatening condition for babies. Parents who believe their newborn suffered from a negligent doctor and a serious injury during birth may wish to speak with a legal professional skilled in medical malpractice. A doctor can be held accountable for his mistakes and compensation may be available for medical expenses, future medical expenses, pain and suffering and other damages.

Source: Johns Hopkins Children's Center, "Meconium Aspiration Syndrome," accessed on March 17, 2015

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