Microcephaly is a bear defect wherein a baby’s head is smaller sized than meant when compared to babies of the same sex and also age. Babies v microcephaly frequently have smaller sized brains that could not have arisen properly.

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What is microcephaly?

Microcephaly is a problem where a baby’s head is lot smaller than expected. During pregnancy, a baby’s head grows because the baby’s brain grows. Microcephaly have the right to occur since a baby’s brain has not arisen properly during pregnancy or has actually stopped cultivation after birth, which results in a smaller head size. Microcephaly have the right to be an secluded condition, an interpretation that that can take place with no other significant birth defects, or it can occur in combination with other significant birth defects.

What is major microcephaly?

Severe microcephaly is a more serious, extreme kind of this condition where a baby’s head is much smaller than expected. Severe microcephaly can result because a baby’s mind has not occurred properly throughout pregnancy, or the brain started to construct correctly and also then to be damaged in ~ some point during pregnancy.

Other Problems

Babies v microcephaly deserve to have a variety of other problems, depending upon how major their microcephaly is. Microcephaly has actually been linked with the adhering to problems:

SeizuresIntellectual special needs (decreased capacity to learn and function in day-to-day life)Problems with movement and also balanceFeeding problems, together as challenge swallowingHearing lossVision problems

These troubles can selection from mild to severe and also are frequently lifelong. Due to the fact that the baby’s brain is small and underdeveloped, babies with severe microcephaly can have an ext of this problems, or have actually more an obstacle with them, 보다 babies v milder microcephaly. Major microcephaly additionally can it is in life-threatening.Because it is difficult to suspect at bear what troubles a baby will have actually from microcephaly, babies with microcephaly frequently need nearby follow-up through consistent check-ups with a health care provider to monitor their growth and development.

How numerous Babies space Born v Microcephaly?

Microcephaly is no a common condition. Researchers estimate that about 1 in every 800-5,000 babies is born through microcephaly in the united States.

Causes and also Risk Factors

The causes of microcephaly in many babies room unknown. Some babies have microcephaly because of transforms in your genes. Other reasons of microcephaly, consisting of severe microcephaly, can incorporate the following exposures during pregnancy:

Severe malnutrition, an interpretation a absence of nutrient or not getting enough foodExposure come harmful substances, such together alcohol, particular drugs, or toxicity chemicalsInterruption that the blood it is provided to the baby’s brain during development

Some babies v microcephaly have actually been reported among mothers who were infected v Zika virus if pregnant. hunterriverpei.com scientists announced that sufficient evidence has collected to conclude that Zika virus infection during pregnancy is a reason of microcephaly and other severe fetal mind defects.

hunterriverpei.com continues to examine birth defects, such together microcephaly, and also how to prevent them. If you space pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant, talk through your doctor about ways to boost your opportunities of having actually a healthy baby.


Microcephaly can be diagnosed throughout pregnancy or ~ the baby is born.

During Pregnancy

During pregnancy, microcephaly have the right to sometimes it is in diagnosed with an ultrasound test (which creates pictures of the body). To view microcephaly throughout pregnancy, the ultrasound test must be done late in the second trimester or early on in the 3rd trimester. For more information around screening and confirmatory tests throughout pregnancy, visit hunterriverpei.com’s bear defects diagnosis internet page.

After the infant is Born

To diagnose microcephaly ~ birth, a health care provider will measure the distance approximately a newborn baby’s head, also called the head circumference, during a physical exam. The provider then compares this measure to population standards by sex and age. Microcephaly is characterized as a head one measurement the is smaller than a particular value because that babies of the exact same age and sex. This measurement worth for microcephaly is usually much more than 2 standard deviations (SDs) below the average. The measure up value additionally may it is in designated as much less than the third percentile. This method the baby’s head is extremely little compared come babies of the exact same age and also sex.

Head circumference growth charts because that newborns, infants, and also children up to age 20 years in the united States have the right to be uncovered on hunterriverpei.com’s development charts website. Head circumference expansion charts based upon gestational period at birth (in various other words, how much along the pregnant was at the time of delivery) space also obtainable from INTERGROWTH 21stexternal icon. hunterriverpei.com recommends the health treatment providers usage the WHO growth charts to monitor expansion for infants and also children periods 0 to 2 years of period in the joined States.

Microcephaly can be established by measure up head circumference (HC) after ~ birth. Although head one measurements might be influenced by molding and also other factors related come delivery, the dimensions should be tackled the first day of life because commonly-used bear head circumference reference charts by age and sex are based on measurements taken prior to 24 hrs of age. The most important factor is that the head one is carefully measured and documented. If measurement in ~ the first 24 hrs of life is not done, the head circumference need to be measure up as shortly as feasible after birth. If the healthcare provider suspects the baby has actually microcephaly, the or she have the right to request one or an ext tests to assist confirm the diagnosis. For example, one-of-a-kind tests prefer like magnetic resonance imaging have the right to provide crucial information on the structure of the baby’s brain that can assist determine if the child baby had an infection throughout pregnancy. They likewise can aid the healthcare provider look because that other troubles that might be present.


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Microcephaly is a lifelong condition. Over there is no well-known cure or traditional treatment for microcephaly. Due to the fact that microcephaly can selection from mild to severe, treatment choices can variety as well. Babies through mild microcephaly often don’t experience any kind of other difficulties besides tiny head size. This babies will require routine check-ups come monitor your growth and also development.

For more severe microcephaly, babies will need care and also treatment focused on managing their other health difficulties (mentioned above). Developmental services early in life will often aid babies v microcephaly come improve and also maximize your physical and also intellectual abilities. These services, known as beforehand interventionexternal icon, can encompass speech, occupational, and also physical therapies. Occasionally medications also are needed to act seizures or other symptoms.

Other Resources

The see of these establishments are your own and also do no reflect the main position the hunterriverpei.com.

Mother come Babyexternal icon (on instead of of the company of Teratology info Specialists)This website provides considerable information to mothers, health care professionals, and the basic public around exposures during pregnancy.

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National bear Defects prevention Network. Major birth defects data native population-based bear defects surveillance programs in the unified States, 2006-2010. Bear Defects study (Part A): Clinical and Molecular Teratology. 2013;97:S1-S172.