LEGAL GUIDE
Written by attorney Marcus Bazzell Boston

Meconium And HIE (Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy)

Meconium and HIE can, in some instances, manifest themselves together during labor and delivery. Although some literature states that meconium, in and of itself is not a guarantee that a baby will suffer a brain injury, the condition, when coupled with other factors can give rise to serious concerns during labor and delivery. At the end of the day, doctors and nurses should work to make sure that the labor and delivery process is as safe as possible for mom and baby.

In today’s article we will explore the medical condition meconium and HIE. The focus will be on how fetal distress can creep into play in some cases when a baby has passed meconium in the fluid.

What Is Meconium?

Meconium can be classified as your baby’s stool. The substance can vary in color and can be seen either at delivery and/or when mother’s water breaks. The color of meconium can vary, as it can be greenish in color, or brownish, or blackish, or yellowish. According to some information, the cause of a baby passing meconium is because of the baby being under stress. This is because when certain stressors are present, the baby might have a bowel movement.

Although this condition is outside of the scope of this article, some hospitals will have the NICU on standby when there is meconium in the fluid. This can be due to the fact that if the meconium is ingested and presents below the baby’s cords, there is a chance for the medical condition meconium aspiration syndrome to occur.

Meconium And HIE

As stated above, when a baby has passed meconium, this can be in some cases because the baby is under stress. When a mother presents for labor and delivery, one of the tools that are used to gauge how well the labor is progressing for the baby is the electronic fetal heart monitor. This device is used in hospitals across the US and doctors and nurses are trained in understanding the readings.

HIE occurs when there is a reduction in blood and oxygen which leads to a brain injury. When a baby has meconium present doctors and nurses have to pay close attention to the progression of labor and delivery. This can the case because stressors on the baby, such as a reduction in blood and oxygen, might manifest themselves on the electronic fetal heart monitor.

For example, the monitor might begin to exhibit prolonged late deceleration patterns. These patterns might accompany bradycardia or tachycardia. Minimal or absent variability may also be present.

The point being is that when meconium is already known, doctors and nurses must be ready to help a baby if things turn non-reassuring. Waiting to long to move to an emergency C-section following no improvement from conservative treatment measures or failing to perform one at all when it is warranted can lead to a baby suffering the traumatic brain injury HIE in some cases.

Your baby has suffered an HIE injury and meconium was present in your water and you have questions I invite you to pick up the phone and call me. My contact information is below. I speak with families like yours all the time about these types of issues and I would be happy to listen to your baby's story.

Marcus B. Boston, Esq. Boston Law Group, LLC 2 Wisconsin Circle, Suite 700 Chevy Chase, Maryland 20815 bostonlawllc.com 301-850-4832 1-833-4 BABY HELP

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