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Did Your Newborn Suffer Cerebral
Palsy or Another Brain Injury Before
or During Labor and Delivery?

Learn More

Our Birth Brain Injury Resource Guide

the guide

Get a FREE guide of resources available throughout Ohio to children and families of children who were born with brain injuries.

Our guide can help you build a foundation of knowledge and tools that will help you help your child
now and in the future.

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Meconium Aspiration – Prognosis

Generally, the prognosis for babies who have aspirated meconium is good. Even with elevated levels, chances are your baby will be able to go home with you within a few weeks after delivery.

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First, note that the presence of meconium in the amniotic fluid does not mean that your infant has aspirated any meconium. In fact, some studies show that even though meconium is present in the amniotic fluid in anywhere between 10-15% of deliveries, the meconium is only aspirated in 5-25% percent of those infants. Moreover, the clinical meconium aspiration syndrome only develops in 4-10% of those infants that aspirated meconium (the numbers vary depending on the date and place the study was conducted, as well as methodology). More encouragingly, it appears that at least in developing countries, meconium aspiration syndrome is being diagnosed with less frequency.

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Usually, babies that have aspirated meconium, either in the womb or during or after delivery, recover within a few days and can leave with their parents. In fact, this is the case with many of the babies that have been treated.

A low percentage of infants that aspirate meconium require more care. These babies are transferred to neonatal intensive care or special monitoring units. The majority of these babies, in turn, can spend one to two weeks in intensive monitoring, undergoing respiratory support and then can go home with their parents.

More severe complications are rare but do occur. If an infant aspirated the meconium in utero and experienced significant oxygen deprivation, some long-term studies suggest that they can be more susceptible to neurological disorders. A few infants also suffer from reactive airway disease for anything ranging from months to years after being born. Death from syndrome-related complications is rare but has occurred.