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Doctor insights on: Ultrasound Shows Anencephaly

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When does ancephaly develop? What age should they see it on ultrasound?

When does ancephaly develop? What age should they see it on ultrasound?

Absent brain: Most of the major organs have formed by 8-12 weeks so it may be possible to detect some defect at this early age. Certainly with the blood tests for neural tube defects, the fetus is large enough by 18-20 weeks to tell for sure, which is when most fetal anatomy us take place. ...Read more

Dr. Michael Gabor
2,275 Doctors shared insights

Sonogram (Definition)

An ultraound, also known as a sonogram, is a painless and relatively inexpensive imaging test that utilizes sound waves instead of ionizing radiation. There are no side effects. Ultrasound can give us two-dimensional, and in some applications three-dimensional, images of structures and organs in virtually any part of the body. In addition to diagnostic uses, such as evaluating abnormalities in the abdomen, pelvis, and breast, ultrasounds are commonly used to guide needle and catheter placement in a variety of surgical ...Read more


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What is the main cause of anencephaly?

What is the main cause of anencephaly?

3 weeks after con-: Ception, an embryo's neural plate develops a midline groove; its edges over-fold & close to form a neural tube. Anencephaly is the most severe of the Neural Tube Defects caused by interaction of one of several genes with environmental factors. Low maternal folate (folic acid) level at conception is a main cause; MTHFR, a main gene iinvolved. Fertile women who take daily Folic Acid have lower risk of NTD's. ...Read more

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What are the tests that indicate anencephaly?

What are the tests that indicate anencephaly?

Anencephaly: Anencephaly is a serious birth defect where the brain does not form and the top of the skull is open. It is an extreme form of a neural tube defect. Tests which can indicate anencephaly are an ultrasound examination. A blood test called msafp can be drawn at 15 weeks also. ...Read more

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What is the definition or description of: Anencephaly?

No brain: It is a serious birth defect in which a baby is born without parts of the brain and skull. Anencephaly can often be diagnosed before birth through an ultrasound examination. There is no cure or standard treatment for anencephaly and the prognosis for patients is death. ...Read more

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Could baby with anencephaly grow a brain?

No: By definition, the infant with anencephaly went through the stages of fetal development without major brain parts. The primitive tissues of forebrain development come together to form a brain, or not, well before a month into fetal life. It cannot start over. Anencephaly patients can live a day or two under some circumstances but most pass shortly after birth if not prior to delivery. ...Read more

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Could hair perms cause anencephaly in unborn babies?

Don't know: I do not know. I have not heard that. I would suggest though that hair perms contain chemicals that can leach in to the body through the scalp and are in general not beneficial especially if pregnant or trying to get pregnant. Avoid them. Anencephaly has multiple causes and at best chemicals may contribute...Have seen no evidence yet they are causal. ...Read more

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Does anyone know if anencephaly is a genetic disease?

Does anyone know if anencephaly is a genetic disease?

Not genetic: We don't know why anencephaly happens, but it is not genetic. It may be in part due to a mother not having enough Folic Acid in her diet. ...Read more

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What is the difference between spina bifida and anencephaly?

The position: The developing brain and spinal cord go through a predictable pattern. The primitive neural tissue folds on itself to begin forming the spinal elements. It actually closes the fold starting in the middle and progresses toward the top and bottom. Like closing a zipper from the middle out. If the fold doesn't close at the tom, anencephaly develops. If it doesn't close at the bottom. Spina bifida. ...Read more

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I get little sweaty at night sometimes & im 8wks preg with Hx of anencephaly bubs. Worried my body temp increase may cause damage to baby? Winter here

I get little sweaty at night sometimes & im 8wks preg with Hx of anencephaly bubs. Worried my body temp increase may cause damage to baby? Winter here

Body temperature: Small fluctuations in body temperature are a normal part of physiology and are not a known cause of fetal abnormalities. ...Read more

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I lost a daughter to anencephaly 5 months ago. I would love to get pregnant again, but I am very scared? .Is there anyway anencephaly can happen again

Yes, but: Your original risk was that of the general population that runs 1/1000 live births, but your recurrence risk climbs to 4%. There are various nutritional & genetic factors that go into your overall risk of some unexpected outcome with pregnancy & a visit to a geneticist affiliated with a med school or children's hospital may be your best information source. Take time to grieve but don't give up. ...Read more

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How early can anencephaly be detected? Had 8wk scan & dr said the head looked gd but couldn't confirm until 12wks as she couldn't see skull? Hx of anen

How early can anencephaly be detected? Had 8wk scan & dr said the head looked gd but couldn't confirm until 12wks as she couldn't see skull? Hx of anen

Sounds reasonable: Your doctors plan sounds reasonable. Keep your follow up visit. Folic acid supplementation of 4 mg daily is recommended for those with a history of neural tube defects in pregnancy ...Read more

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What can I do to treat anencephaly?

What can I do to treat anencephaly?

Comfort care only!: Nobody can nor should help prolong the "lives" of these poor neonates. Anencephalic newborns are devoid of any chance of meaningful interaction with the environment and never attain consciousness. Comfort care is all that is ethically permissible for these dramatic cases.
Take 4-5 mg daily of Folic Acid daily throughout your reproductive life, to prevent this from recurring in future pregnancies. ...Read more

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What are the tests for anencephaly?

Ultrasound.: Only expert prenatal ultrasound can reliably detect anencephaly after the first trimester of pregnancy. Amniotic fluid Alpha fetoprotein and acetylcholinesterase can also help reach the diagnosis. ...Read more

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What sort of problem is anencephaly?

What sort of problem is anencephaly?

Failure of closure: The fetus is busy around 20-30 days in when the nervous system starts forming along a line like a trench. The trench folds in on itself and begins to form a tube, sealing itself in the middle first and moving toward both ends like two zippers. When the top end fails to close, many brain structures don't form & we have anencephaly.At the bottom, we get spina bifida. ...Read more

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What are the symptoms of anencephaly?

What are the symptoms of anencephaly?

None.: The mother usually has no symptoms when she is carrying an anencephalic infant, however this is a lethal fetal anomaly. Its recurrence in future pregnancies can be prevented with daily use of Folic Acid at 4-5 mg. ...Read more

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What is iniencephaly vs anencephaly?

What is iniencephaly vs anencephaly?

Same.: Iniencephaly is as lethal as anencephaly and associated with an extreme retroflexion of the fetal head towards the back. ...Read more

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What is the treatment for anencephaly?

Up to parents: This is always fatal within hours or days. The management choices depend on the parents. Some accept early termination after confirmation. Some choose to deliver and spend time with the baby, avoiding attempts to prolong the act of dying. If they choose to deliver, I encourage the parents to see and hold the baby, and have a chance to say goodbye. This has been shown to speed emotional recovery ...Read more

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Is there a link between anencephaly and genetics? Are they hereditary?

Loose link: All of the neural tube defects from anencephaly down down the back to spina bifida are all loosely linked through numerous genes. Recurrence risk after a first affected child is minimal, quoted as 1.9%, but would encompass any of the related defects. Most are considered single chance events, and pre-pregnancy supplement of Folic Acid has reduced the frequency. ...Read more

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Hi I had my first child with anencephaly. What preventive measures need to be taken for the next baby?

Folic acid: To prevent anencephaly and spina bifida it has been recommended that women start taking folic acid before considering undertaking a pregnancy. speak to your OBGYN about this. ...Read more

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37wks+2days pregnant. Feelin scared & anxious of losin this healthy baby in this last bit. Lost 2 bubs to anencephaly in past. Wat can I do? Jus want safe

37wks+2days pregnant. Feelin scared & anxious of losin this healthy baby in this last bit. Lost 2 bubs to anencephaly in past. Wat can I do? Jus want safe

Natural feelinngs: With your past experience it is easy for you to remain an emotional mess, even after a normal delivery and healthy initial exam. Surround yourself with supportive people who are willing to listen. By the time this baby is five you may relax. Just hang in there. ...Read more

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Lost 2 bubs to anencephaly. Now preg with healthy 3rd baby no NTD's.Have had vag bleedin this preg all told"unexplained".Any tips to gt thru last 8wks?

Lost 2 bubs to anencephaly. Now preg with healthy 3rd baby no NTD's.Have had vag bleedin this preg all told"unexplained".Any tips to gt thru last 8wks?

Bedrest: You should take it easy. Not too much activity. Frequent doctor visits and close monitoring. May be best to avoid sexual activity during the final weeks. Babys born 8 weeks early typically do very well these days. ...Read more

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Can diabetes in pregnancy cause anencephaly?

Diabetes: Insulin dependent diabetes, diabetes type 1, which is poorly controlled in early pregnancy is associated with a higher rate of neural tube defects. Anencephaly is the most extreme form of a neural tube defect. ...Read more

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Hello docs, is anencephaly a genetic disease?

Genetic influence: Anencephaly is one of the many forms of neural tube defects that can occur. The factors are likely present on several chromosomes, making it a polygenic rather than single gene in origin. Recurrence risk of any form of ntd to a previously affected couple is a few percent. ...Read more

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Could measles in pregnancy cause anencephaly?

Could measles in pregnancy cause anencephaly?

Measles in pregnancy: If a pregnant woman has measles it depends on the trimester what effects it will have on the fetus. It can cause brain anomalies as well. You OB should be the one counselling you on this, and the ultra sound of the fetus tells a lot about such problems. Talk to your ob. ...Read more

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Is anencephaly a genetic disease or is it preventable?

Is anencephaly a genetic disease or is it preventable?

Sporadic malformatn: The fetal nervous system first forms as a groove that folds in on itself and begins to close from the middle outward to the top & bottom. If the bottom doesn't close, spina bifida develops. If the top doesn't, anencephaly occurs. Recurrence risk to any affected mom ~1-2% makes this non-genetic. There is some evidence that taking Folic Acid before pregnancy & up to 3m can help prevent it. ...Read more

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How do anencephaly babies survive when they have no brain?

How do anencephaly babies survive when they have no brain?

See below: They have a brain stem, which will control breathing and heart rate. ...Read more

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How can anencephaly babies respond when they have no brain?

How can anencephaly babies respond when they have no brain?

Primitive Reflexes: Such babies have brain stems, but lack the higher cortex. Without the brain stem they wouldn't breath and their hearts wouldn't beat. The brain stem accounts for primitive reflexes, which I have seen people mistake for a conscious response. ...Read more

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Lost baby in 16 week with termination due to anencephaly. Biopsy report has notes "anencephaly, hypo plastic maxilla. What does that mean?

Findings expected in: anencephaly. We now believe that the cranium does not close, leaving the brain exposed. By 11 to 12 weeks, extension of the legs is sufficient to bash the normal brain against the uterine wall, destroying most of it by 13 to 14 weeks. The markedly reduced brain volume causes deformation of craniofacial structures. Had the cranium closed, your fetus would've had a normal face. ...Read more

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26 wks pregnant. Lost 2 babies to anencephaly previously. This bubs ok so far. Extremely scared of losing this healthy baby. Will my bub make it?

26 wks pregnant. Lost 2 babies to anencephaly previously. This bubs ok so far. Extremely scared of losing this healthy baby. Will my bub make it?

Imaging?: So sorry about your loss! That is just devastating! Have you had an ultrasound with this baby? The anatomy of anencephaly is easy to diagnose on ultrasound. However, there are smaller more subtle neural tube defects which could be missed. Ask your ob about the details of ultrasound. Get ultrasound ASAP if have not had one yet! Good luck! ...Read more

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What is anencephaly?

Anencephaly: Anencephaly is one of a group of malformations of the central nervous system collectively called neural tube defects. Anencephaly is readily apparent at birth because of the absence of the skull and scalp and with exposure of the underlying brain. ...Read more

Dr. Richard Roberts
60 Doctors shared insights

Anencephaly (Definition)

A baby born with an underdeveloped brain ...Read more