The danger of the baby sucking in meconium during delivery

The danger of the baby sucking in meconium during delivery

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He meconium aspiration syndrome (SAM) in infants is a disorder produced by the aspiration of amniotic fluid with meconium into the airway before or during birth, and which causes respiratory distress to a greater or lesser degree.

We call meconium at the baby's first bowel movements. It is a sticky substance with a dark greenish color (almost black), and it is made up of mucus, bile, intestinal secretions and other remains of substances contained in the amniotic fluid that the baby swallows while in the womb.

Typically, the newborn expels its first meconium within 24 hours after birth. Little by little, as you eat food (colostrum or artificial formula), the consistency of your stools will change until it becomes more yellowish and pasty.

Sometimes the baby passes meconium while it is still in the uterus and the amniotic fluid becomes yellowish or greenish in color. This usually happens in 10-15% of pregnancies.

It may be because the baby's intestine is already mature enough, that is why it is more frequent if the pregnancy lasts beyond week 41. But on some occasions (the least) it is related to a decrease in the supply of oxygen within the uterus and / or fetal distress, so it is recommended that if you break the bag and see that the liquid is greenish, do not take too long to go to the hospital, where they will make a monitor to listen to the baby and check that everything is going well.

But be careful, that the liquid is tinged with meconium It does not imply that the baby is or has been suffering, but rather that it is another sign to be valued and that makes us be a little more alert; it is only dangerous if the baby breathes it in by air, and this can happen if the baby suffers from a lack of oxygen during delivery.

Although the meconium It is a sterile and harmless substance in the intestine, if it passes into the airway it can cause inflammation and obstruction of the same, and even pneumonia, causing respiratory failure that can become severe. In that case is when we would talk about meconium aspiration syndrome (SAM), which appears in less than 5% of babies born with stained amniotic fluid.

The seriousness or not of the situation will depend on the amount of meconium that the baby has aspirated, its consistency, how long it has been in the lungs, and other individual circumstances of the baby, such as low weight or stunted growth.

For this reason, during deliveries with meconium-stained amniotic fluid, it is necessary to listen to the baby's heart all the time through continuous monitoring. And, in addition, it is recommended that at the time of birth there is a pediatrician available to make a proper assessment of the newborn.

If when the water breaks we observe that the liquid is greenish, it is recommended to go to the hospital to make a monitor and listen to the baby's heart. If you are in labor, the monitor will be left on you continuously, since the presence of meconium It is a sign that makes us more alert to rule out and avoid stressful situations for the baby. Otherwise, the action during dilation will be the same as in any other delivery, but when the baby is about to be born, pediatrics are usually notified so that they are available to make a proper assessment.

If the labor has passed without signs of stress for baby, and when born it shows vigorous, it is not necessary to intervene. If, on the other hand, the newborn is hypotonic or not very reactive, the pediatricians will take him to a crib to assess if he needs to clear his airways of meconium, and if so, they will suction him with an endotracheal tube or tube.

Sometimes this is enough for the baby to breathe on its own, but in more serious cases may require admission to neonates or intensive care. In most cases, babies affected by the meconium aspiration syndrome they evolve favorably in a few days.

In summary, the presence of meconium in amniotic fluid is not dangerous unless it is inhaled by the baby. In most cases it is due to the maturity of the digestive tract itself; in this case, stress should be avoided during labor and thus prevent meconium aspiration.

At other times, meconium is a sign of oxygen deprivation, so continuous monitoring and perhaps medical intervention will be necessary.

Take care of yourself during pregnancy, enjoy, rest, do activities that make you feel good and relaxed. The best guarantee that your baby is healthy and calm is that you are too.

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Video: Caring for Your Newborn. UCLAMDCHAT Webinars (June 2022).