Meconium is the sticky black substance that usually makes up your little one’s first bowel movement. Sometimes, the baby will release meconium before birth and subsequently inhale it. That can cause meconium aspiration syndrome, a serious respiratory problem.
If your child is diagnosed with meconium aspiration syndrome, you need some information from your doctor.
1. What care does my child need now?
Your little one may need immediate medical attention to clear the meconium from the airways. Severe cases may need even more invasive treatment, such as being placed on a ventilator or receiving surgery for a collapsed lung. Make sure your doctors keep you informed of the care your child is receiving.
2. Is there long-term damage?
Mild cases of meconium aspiration may leave your child with little more than an increased risk for respiratory infections for a few months. Severe cases can cause permanent lung damage. Ask your doctor how severe your child’s case is and whether there will be lasting damage to the lungs or airways.
3. Will my child need treatment at home?
Children with breathing problems typically won’t be released from the hospital until they can reliably breathe on their own, but your doctor may recommend use of a humidifier or certain medications to help keep your baby’s airways clear.
4. What signs of side effects should I watch for?
Some of the symptoms of meconium aspiration may not appear right away. Ask your doctor what signs to watch out for and when to seek medical attention.
5. How did my child get meconium aspiration syndrome?
Ask your doctor about the likely causes of your child’s condition. You may need that information for future pregnancies. Your doctor may also have made a medical mistake, in which case you may be entitled to compensation for the costs associated with the injury.