Improving your health since 2000
Meconium is a baby's first bowel movement. Meconium aspiration syndrome (MAS) develops when the baby aspirates (breathes in) meconium. This usually happens while he is still in the womb but may happen during or shortly after birth. MAS ranges from mild to life-threatening.
Your baby may take deep breaths while he is still in the womb. This is a normal part of a baby's development and happens near the end of pregnancy. Your baby may gasp if he is not getting enough oxygen through the umbilical cord. He breathes in amniotic fluid when he takes deep breaths or gasps. If meconium is in the amniotic fluid, he may breathe it in along with the fluid. The meconium may block his airway and prevent him from breathing, or it may irritate his lungs. The following may increase your baby's risk for MAS:
Healthcare providers may insert a scope into your baby's throat to check for meconium. His blood may be tested for the amount of oxygen it contains. An x-ray may be used to find signs of meconium on your baby's lungs. Healthcare providers will watch your baby for signs of MAS for the first 24 hours after he is born.
Your baby may not need treatment if he is breathing well and his heartbeat is strong. He may need any of the following if he is having trouble breathing, is limp, or has a weak heartbeat:
Manage health conditions that can increase the risk for MAS. Tell healthcare providers if you see meconium in your water when it breaks during labor. They will monitor your baby closely during delivery.
© 2014 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.