meconium aspiration syndrome


Meconium is a dark green fecal material produced in the intestines of a fetus before birth. After delivery, your newborn will pass meconium stools for the first few days of life.

Stress that your baby experiences before or during birth may cause your baby to pass meconium stool while still in the uterus. The meconium stool then mixes with the amniotic fluid that surrounds the fetus.

Your baby may then breathe the meconium and amniotic fluid mixture into their lungs shortly before, during, or right after birth. This is known as meconium aspiration or meconium aspiration syndrome (MAS).

Although MAS is often not life-threatening, it can cause significant health complications for your newborn. And, if MAS is severe or untreated, it can be fatal.


MAS may occur when your baby experiences stress. Stress often results when the amount of oxygen available to the fetus is reduced. Common causes of fetal stress include:

  • A pregnancy that goes past the due date (more than 40 weeks)
  • Difficult or long labor
  • Certain health issues experienced by the mother, including hypertension (high blood pressure) or diabetes
  • An infection

The fetus doesn’t begin to produce meconium until later in pregnancy, so as a pregnancy goes past its due date, the fetus has the potential to be exposed to meconium for a longer period of time.

As pregnancy progresses to term and beyond, the amount of amniotic fluid is also decreased, which concentrates the meconium. As a result, MAS is more common in overdue newborns as compared to term newborns. MAS is rare in preterm newborn.


Respiratory distress is the most prominent symptom of MAS. Your infant may breathe rapidly or grunt during breathing. Some newborns may stop breathing if their airways are blocked by meconium. Your baby may also exhibit the following symptoms:

  • a bluish skin color, which is called cyanosis
  • limpness
  • low blood pressures.


A diagnosis is made based on your newborn’s symptoms and the presence of meconium in the amniotic fluid.

Doctor will listen to infant’s chest with a stethoscope to detect sounds of abnormal breathing. There are a few methods commonly used to confirm the diagnosis:

  • blood gas test to evaluate oxygen and carbon dioxide levels
  • chest X-ray to see if material has entered newborn’s lung.


The medicines that can be thought of use are:-

  • Camphor
  • Belladonna
  • Ferrum phos