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Swallowing Meconium

Posted by Frank Spector | Sep 08, 2011 | 0 Comments

Our new website and logo launched over the summer has sparked lots of interest. We have had many visitors searching for different medical conditions.  More than 1 visitor has looked for information about a baby swallowing meconium.  Today's blog provides answers to this.  As a medical malpractice lawyer who has looked at hundreds of medical records involving meconium, I have learned a great deal that I want to share with you.

What is meconium?

Meconium describes a bowel movement from a baby.  Typically this occurs shortly after birth.  Meconium bowel movements are sticky, thick and dark green. Meconium can be passed by a baby while still in the womb.  It can be a normal occurrence especially in full term babies. It can also be a sign of a baby being in distress, sometimes as a result of being deprived of oxygen.

How do babies swallow meconium?

Fluid moves in an out of the baby's airway when there is breathing activity. Meconium can be inhaled into the lungs when a baby gasps while still in the womb.  The condition that babies get from inhaling meconium is called meconium aspiration syndrome (MAS).

There are certain factors which make MAS more likely to occur.  They are:

  • difficult deliveries
  • babies who are past the due date
  • problems with the umbilical cord
  • poor growth by the baby

What are the signs of MAS? Babies with MAS may have the following signs:

  • grunting
  • limp
  • lower heart rate
  • breathing problems
  • poor muscle tone

How is MAS treated? Sometimes, a tube will have to be placed down the baby's throat to suck out the meconium.  For more severe cases, babies may have to be put on a breathing machine. Are there long term complications? Most babies recover just fine.  However, some do have long term problems with chronic lung disease.  In rare cases, babies can die from MAS. I'll continue to look out for other medical questions from our visitors and provide answers to them.  If you have had a baby with MAS, please call us toll free at 1-800-299-HURT or email at [email protected].  Fill out the contact form on this page or any page on our website.  Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

About the Author

Frank Spector

Welcome to my profile page. Choosing a lawyer is a big decision. Here is some information so you can get to know me better. I am the third generation of lawyers in my family. I saw how lawyers can help people get justice for their injuries. So for over 30 years, I have helped those injured by m...


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