Meconium Aspiration Syndrome
Meconium aspiration syndrome affects between two to five percent of all births and threatens the lives of all infants who have it. While doctors have improved the mortality rate in the last few decades, there is a high risk of lifelong disabilities resulting from this condition. Normally, meconium is only passed after birth, but sometimes it enters the amniotic fluid before or at the time of birth. If the infant breaths in the meconium and deposits it into their lungs, the infant has a high risk of health complications when left untreated.
What Causes This Condition?
A few factors cause meconium aspiration syndrome, but problems with the placenta’s health are among the highest risk factors. When this happens, the child might defecate and breathe in the meconium even while still in the womb. This birth disorder comes with great consequences if not responded to promptly.
Some of the greatest risk factors that can increase the potential for this condition include:
- Maternal or gestational diabetes
- A placenta past its due date
- High blood pressure in the mother
- The infant not receiving enough oxygen
What are the Symptoms?
A newborn that has been affected by this condition will normally experience respiratory problems. For example, they will normally breathe more rapidly than normal infants. Also, they could turn cyanotic, or blue. This happens when the oxygen levels within the body have been reduced. Other signs include how your child’s nails, umbilical cord, and skin might be covered in meconium, and he will have a greenish to yellowish color.
What Does The Prognosis Look Like?
As stated before, the prognosis for this condition has improved in the last couple of decades. In fact, nowadays, it looks favorable. However, cases of meconium aspiration syndrome can be severe. In particular, it becomes a dangerous condition when it leads to pulmonary hypertension that remains quite persistent. When this happens, it can lead to the death of your child. Another condition is that your children might develop asthma later on in life.
How Do Doctors Treat This Condition?
Normally, doctors will suction meconium out of a child’s air passages. If your child has crackling noises while breathing, this is typically when doctors will intervene. For example, if a child isn’t breathing, the doctor might attach an oxygen mask so that the child can still get air.
Nowadays, you don’t have to worry about long-term effects as long as you quickly treat your child. When this condition goes untreated, it can lead to cerebral palsy because of brain damage. CP is a lifelong disability that is also quite expensive for your parents to treat. Failure to diagnose this condition on time can be fatal, so you want to get it treated as soon as possible.