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Meconium Aspiration Syndrome


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 or she is still in the womb but may happen during or shortly after birth. MAS ranges from mild to life-threatening.


Informed consent

is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that your child may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your child's medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done to your child. Make sure all of your questions are answered.


  • Antibiotics help treat an infection caused by bacteria.
  • Surfactant replacement may be given. Surfactant is normally made by a baby's body. It helps his or her lungs expand normally and reduces inflammation.
  • Nitric oxide may be given if your baby is not breathing well on his or her own.


Blood gases:

These tests are also called arterial blood gases (ABGs). Blood is taken from an artery usually in your child's wrist. ABGs may be done if your child has trouble breathing or other problems caused by his illness.


  • A suction device may be used to remove meconium from your baby's airway. He or she may need to have this procedure more than once.
  • Your child may need extra oxygen if his blood oxygen level is lower than it should be. Your child may get oxygen through a mask placed over his nose and mouth or through small tubes placed in his nostrils. Ask your child's healthcare provider before you take off the mask or oxygen tubing.
  • A ventilator may be used to help your baby breathe if he or she cannot breathe on his or her own.


The more meconium your baby aspirates, the more he or she is at risk for health problems. He or she may develop aspiration pneumonia. He or she may develop a severe breathing problem shortly after birth that needs immediate treatment. Long-term problems include asthma or other breathing problems, seizures, hearing loss, and developmental delays.


You have the right to help plan your baby's care. Learn about your baby's health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your baby's healthcare providers to decide what care you want for your baby.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Meconium Aspiration Syndrome (Inpatient Care)

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.