Home > Birth Defects During Pregnancy > Anencephaly


Anencephaly is a serious birth defect in which a baby is born with out parts of the brain, skull, and scalp that occurs during embryonic development. 

These are birth defects that happen in the beginning stages of the pregnancy. Anencephaly prevents the development of the brain and bones of the skull.

Anencephaly Pathophysiology

 Anencephaly results from a failure of the neural tube defects.  The main cases of neural tube defects are base on teratogenic or genetic insult. 

The abnormality can occur by itself or with other anomalies.  An ultrasonography will detect this kind of abnormality.

What Causes Anencephaly?

The exact causes of anencephaly are unknown. Many experts have notice a lack of folic acid before and during pregnancy may increase the possibility of developing neural tube defects.  It can also be triggered by environmental and genetic factors.

What Are The Signs And Symptoms of An Anencephaly

There are a couple of signs and symptoms to watch out for:

  • Heart defects
  • Facial feature abnormalities
  • Absence of the skull
  • Absence of the brain
  • Folded ears
  • Cleft palate
  • Bones missing from the sides and front of the head

Can Anencephaly Be Prevented?

The best way to prevent anencephaly is for all women of childbearing start taking 0.4 mgs of Folic Acid every day before conception. 

The Folic Acid should also be taken all the way till the first term of pregnancy. This would result to 50 to 70% percent of anencephaly prevention.

How Is Anencephaly Diagnosed?

There is various ways you can diagnose anencephaly.

Prenatal Diagnosis:

  • Ultrasound examination
  • Blood test
  • Amniocentesis
  • Fetal MRI

Diagnosis After Birth:

  • Amniotic band syndrome
  • Encephalocele
  • Exencephaly

What Is The Life Expectancy For Anencephaly Patients?

The life expectancy of a child born with anencephaly is only a few hours or days in the very least.

Join our newsletter to receive pregnancy articles and information on what to expect during the next nine months. You'll get one delightful email per week. 

Put Me In The Story Bestselling Personalized Books Starring Your Child. Shop at Put Me In The Story Personalized Princess Books modernnursery.com Begin life in style!