Anencephaly (pronounced an-en-sef-uh-lee) is a severe 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 severe birth defect in i beg your pardon a baby is born without parts of the mind and skull. It is a form of neural tube defect (NTD). Together the neural tube forms and also closes, that helps kind the baby’s mind and skull (upper component of the neural tube), spinal cord, and earlier bones (lower component of the neural tube).

Anencephaly happens if the upper component of the neural tube does not close every the way. This often results in a baby being born there is no the front component of the brain (forebrain) and also the thinking and also coordinating component of the brain (cerebrum). The remaining components of the brain are regularly not covered by bone or skin.

How numerous Babies room Born through Anencephaly?

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

Causes and also Prevention

The reasons of anencephaly among most infants are unknown. Some babies have actually anencephaly due to the fact that of a change in their gene or chromosomes. Anencephaly might also be caused by a mix of genes and also other factors, such as the points the mommy comes in contact with in the environment or what the mother eats or drinks, or details medicines she uses throughout pregnancy.

Getting sufficient folic acid before and during early on pregnancy can assist prevent neural pipe defects, such together anencephaly. If you space pregnant or might get pregnant, take it 400 micrograms (mcg) that folic acid every day. If girlfriend have already had a pregnancy influenced by an NTD, you can speak v your doctor about taking a higher dose that folic acid prior to pregnancy and also during beforehand pregnancy.

In bespeak to acquire the recommended 400 micrograms the folic mountain every day, a mrs of reproductive age can take it a supplement containing folic mountain or come eat foodstuffs fortified v folic acid, or both, depending upon her dietary habits. is devoted to much better understanding the reasons of birth defects. Understanding the factors that are an ext common among babies v a birth defect will aid us learn an ext about the causes. accumulation the Centers because that Birth Defects Research and also Prevention, which collaborate on huge studies such together the national Birth Defects prevention Study (NBDPS; births 1997-2011), to know the causes of and also risks for birth defects, consisting of anencephaly.

If you room pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant, talk with your doctor about ways to increase your possibilities of having a healthy baby.


Anencephaly deserve to be diagnosed throughout pregnancy or after the infant is born.

During Pregnancy

During pregnancy, there space screening tests (prenatal tests) to check for bear defects and other conditions. Anencephaly would result in an abnormal result on a blood or serum screening test or it could be seen throughout an ultrasound (which creates pictures of the body). For more information about screening and also confirmatory tests throughout pregnancy, visit’s birth defects diagnosis web page.

After the infant is Born

In part cases, anencephaly could not be diagnosed until after the baby is born. Anencephaly is automatically seen at birth.


There is no known cure or conventional treatment for anencephaly. Nearly all babies born with anencephaly will 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. Nationwide population‐based approximates for significant birth defects, 2010–2014. Birth Defects Research. 2019; 111(18): 1420-1435.