Meconium Aspiration Syndrome

Treatments for meconium aspiration depend on the amount and thickness of the meconium, length of time your baby was exposed to it and the severity of the respiratory problems your baby is experiencing.

If a mother's amniotic fluid appears to have meconium, a technique called amnioinfusion may be used during labor. This procedure involves inserting a small tube into the uterus through the vagina to infuse the amniotic fluid with sterile fluid, which may help to dilute the meconium.

Other treatments performed at delivery may include:

  • Suctioning the baby's upper airways, including the nose, mouth and throat
  • Giving the baby supplemental oxygen by hood or mechanical ventilator
  • Tapping on the baby's chest to loosen secretions, a technique known as chest physiotherapy
  • Antibiotics to treat infection
  • Radiant warmer to maintain the baby's body temperature

Another treatment option is mechanical ventilation, which keeps the baby's lungs inflated. This method uses a machine called a ventilator or respirator to improve the exchange of air between the lungs and atmosphere when the baby can't breathe sufficiently on his or her own. This technique is usually done in the Intensive Care Nursery.

Reviewed by health care specialists at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital.

Related Information

UCSF Clinics & Centers

Critical Care

Intensive Care Nursery
1975 Fourth St., Third Floor
San Francisco, CA 94158
Phone: (415) 353-1565
Fax: (415) 353-1202