Written by Gunjan Bedi
When the rarest of the medical condition affects our kids or relatives, it is very disheartening. And especially when the case like anencephaly is with one’s newborn child. The disease of anencephaly is so rare that it affects only one in every thousand newborn babies. Let’s learn more about this medical condition and understand the reasons and treatments associated with it.
Sadly enough, anencephaly is a medical condition wherein the child born suffers from the problem of brain defect since the time of birth itself. An anencephalic baby has a Neural Tube Defect (NTD) at the time of birth. In anencephalic babies, there is the absence of parts of the cerebrum or forebrain in the brain or/and also bone in the back of the head or/and bones missing on the front and sides of the head. The parts of the brain that get formed are exposed and not covered with bones and skin.
Although there are no well researched and defined reasons behind anencephalic babies, few factors falling under the category of genetics, environment, and nutrition during pregnancy have been identified and discussed below:
Although the kind of symptoms of an anencephalic baby varies from individual to individual, few diagnosed symptoms are mentioned here below:
During pregnancy, the healthcare providers might recommend the pregnant lady a few tests to look for symptoms related to neural tube defects. Prenatal tests for anencephaly include:
In this blood test, the neural tube defects and genetic disorders present in the fetus can be detected. If in the test report the level of alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) is high, there are chances of getting an anencephalic fetus.
During a prenatal ultrasound, the pictures of the unborn baby look at the baby’s skull, brain, and spine. And in case of non-formation of part of the brain, the anencephalic fetus can easily get identified.
In case of doubt regarding the presence of anencephalic syndrome, the healthcare provider may ask for an MRI scan to get a clear picture of the brain and spine in greater detail.
In this test, a fine needle is inserted into the amniotic sac to take the sample of the amniotic fluid. Thereafter the level of AFP is tested in amniotic fluid. In the case of high levels of AFP or acetylcholinesterase enzyme, it gets confirmed that the fetus is anencephalic.
The neural tube (NT) closes twenty-eight to thirty-two days after a baby is conceived. Many women are not even aware of their pregnancy during these initial days. And it is during the initial three to eight weeks of pregnancy that the neural tube gets affected by factors such as:
And, so women who cautiously maintain a good level of folic acid during pregnancy, tend to lower the risk of anencephaly baby. Thus, pregnant ladies should emphasize the consumption of some leafy green vegetables, citrus fruits, nuts, beans, and fortified breakfast cereals to maintain a good level of folic acid within them. Even if you are not pregnant, but are in the childbearing age or planning a pregnancy, start taking folic acid & vitamins, to reduce or zero down the risk of anencephaly. In case the healthcare provider has identified a neural tube defect in your fetus, then an extra dosage of folic acid is recommended before and after conception.
Anencephaly is a fatal condition where many anencephalic babies are stillborn or their pregnant mothers suffer a miscarriage. These anencephalic babies die within hours of delivery. And if not then, they die within a few days or weeks. In case the child survives for a longer duration (more than a few weeks) then they tend to lose any response towards sound or touch. They might be unconscious, deaf, or even blind.
Gunjan Bedi an inspirational writer and story teller. My background in medical science make me a perfect content writer in parenting and medical content writing niche. My content has touched millions of readers within three years. Since past three years I have worked with several clients in different niche and provide easy to read content that readers love the most.Read more.
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