What is Meconium’s Relevance to Birth Injuries?

When it comes to cerebral palsy and birth injuries, there are a wide number of terms thrown around that can be overwhelming for parents. One particular term may stand out due to its uniqueness: meconium. What is meconium and what is its relevance to cerebral palsy? We will dive into that question, as well as the impact of this substance on newborns, with our latest blog post.

First, the simple answer to the question of what meconium is: a baby’s first bowel movement which sometimes occurs inside the womb and before birth. While the immediate concept may be disturbing, the reality is that the presence of this substance is not an immediate red flag. So what is meconium’s relationship to birth injuries? When meconium is inhaled with amniotic fluid by the child at birth, medical problems can develop. When meconium is inhaled, a child’s lungs may struggle to inflate, in addition to the risk of chemical irritation to the lung tissue and infection, and lead to complications requiring action.

What Is Meconium? from The CP Lawyer | Stern Law, PLLC on Vimeo.

Due to the problems caused by inhaling meconium, doctors are required to act efficiently to fully assess potential or existing delivery complications and prevent these from occurring or worsening. Fetal distress, as detected on an electronic fetal monitor, may actually have led to the baby discharging the meconium to start, thus indicating the potential for other problems to exist beyond the possible inhalation. The release of meconium is often said to occurs in response to the fetal distress and it can be a sign that the baby has been compromised and may require rescue by C-section or otherwise in the future. However, when meconium has been inhaled, there is the further potential for meconium aspiration syndrome. Regardless on which complication may be taking place, it’s easy to see that the sign of meconium should be triggering actions by the birth team to assist the child in a variety of ways.

Meconium aspiration syndrome is not inherently a severe or problematic case or injury. With proper suction and action, problems relating to meconium aspiration syndrome can be limited or even eliminated. However, should a medical professional fail to act properly, the lingering damage can be significant and include, amongst other things, cerebral palsy or even death.

The presence of meconium in a medical record for a child with cerebral palsy is a first sign that a Medical Legal Review should be undertaken immediately. Should a child’s cerebral palsy be determined to have due to poor medical care and preventable, the child may be eligible for Lifetime Benefits that create new opportunities for therapeutic care and assisted development in the years and decades to come. As a result, finding out the reason for meconium during delivery is crucial.

If you heard the medical professionals discussing meconium during your child’s birth and would like to find out if your child’s CP was avoidable, please request a Medical Legal Review today by filling out our informational form. Doing so can help provide answers on whether your child’s CP was preventable, and potentially open doors to Lifetime Benefits and more.

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