On the other hand, there are also risk factors that can affect a mother and lead to MAS in her newborn. Again, stress during pregnancy is one factor. Other factors include high blood pressure or eclampsia, and gestational diabetes.
Long-Term Effects of Meconium Aspiration
Initially, the effects of MAS are mainly cyanosis, abnormal breathing, and decreased heart rate. The factors that contribute to MAS also have their own impacts on a newborn’s health, namely an increased risk of infection, poor feeding, and inability to thrive.
While treatment is available and highly effective, there are some possible long-term effects of meconium aspiration. Because meconium contains bile, it contains enzymes that break down protein. When meconium enters the nose and mouth, the enzymes damage the throat and lung tissues. Additionally, the chemicals within meconium can irritate the tissue and cause inflammation which prevents normal breathing.
Long-term effects of oxygen deprivation include:
- Need for oxygen supplementation
- Asthma or asthma-like conditions
- Poor growth and development
- Increased risk of seizures
- Brain damage and cerebral palsy
- Increased risk of pneumonia and other infections
Treatment and Prevention
Fortunately, medical treatment of meconium aspiration has come a long way over the years. The key to successfully treating MAS is to spot meconium aspiration as soon as possible. If a mother is past her expected delivery date or notices green or dark staining when her water breaks, these may indicate a problem.