Anencephaly (pronounced an-en-sef-uh-lee) is a major birth defect in i beg your pardon a infant is born without components of the brain and skull.

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What is anencephaly?

Anencephaly is a serious birth defect in i beg your pardon a baby is born without parts of the brain and skull. That is a type of neural tube defect (NTD). As the neural tube forms and closes, that helps kind the baby’s mind and skull (upper part of the neural tube), spinal cord, and earlier bones (lower component of the neural tube).

Anencephaly wake up if the upper part of the neural pipe does not close all the way. This often results in a baby being born there is no the front part of the brain (forebrain) and also the thinking and coordinating component of the mind (cerebrum). The remaining parts of the brain are often not extended by bone or skin.

How countless Babies space Born v Anencephaly?

Researchers estimate that around 1 in every 4,600 babies is born through anencephaly in the unified States.1

Causes and Prevention

The causes of anencephaly amongst most infants are unknown. Part babies have actually anencephaly because of a change in their gene or chromosomes. Anencephaly might additionally be led to by a combination of genes and other factors, such as the things the mommy comes in contact with in the atmosphere or what the mommy eats or drinks, or particular medicines she uses during pregnancy.

Getting enough folic mountain before and during early on pregnancy can assist prevent neural tube defects, such as anencephaly. If you room pregnant or could get pregnant, take it 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid every day. If friend have currently had a pregnancy affected by an NTD, you have the right to speak through your doctor about taking a higher dose of folic acid before pregnancy and during early on pregnancy.

In stimulate to acquire the encourage 400 micrograms the folic acid every day, a woman of reproductive period can take a complement containing folic acid or to eat foods items fortified v folic acid, or both, depending on her diet habits. is committed to better understanding the causes of bear defects. Understanding the determinants that are more common amongst babies v a birth defect will aid us learn more about the causes. funds the Centers because that Birth Defects Research and also Prevention, which collaborate on huge studies such together the nationwide Birth Defects prevention Study (NBDPS; births 1997-2011), to understand the causes of and risks for birth defects, including anencephaly.

If you are pregnant or thinking around becoming pregnant, talk with your doctor around ways to rise your opportunities of having actually a healthy and balanced baby.


Anencephaly can be diagnosed during pregnancy or ~ the infant is born.

During Pregnancy

During pregnancy, there room screening tests (prenatal tests) to examine for bear defects and also other conditions. Anencephaly would result in one abnormal result on a blood or serum screening check or it might be seen during an ultrasound (which creates photos of the body). For more information about screening and confirmatory tests during pregnancy, visit’s bear defects diagnosis internet page.

After the infant is Born

In part cases, anencephaly can not it is in diagnosed until after the infant is born. Anencephaly is automatically seen in ~ birth.


There is no recognized cure or typical treatment because that anencephaly. Almost all babies born v anencephaly will certainly die soon after birth.

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Mai CT, Isenburg JL, Canfield MA, Meyer RE, Correa A, Alverson CJ, Lupo PJ, Riehle‐Colarusso T, Cho SJ, Aggarwal D, Kirby RS. National population‐based estimates for major birth defects, 2010–2014. Birth Defects Research. 2019; 111(18): 1420-1435.