The 101 On Anencephaly: Understanding And Preventing This Serious Birth Defect

From the miracle of life to adding or starting a family, it is easy to see the excitement of pregnancy. Of course, pregnancy can also be a challenging time due to the many physical and emotional changes you may face. You and your unborn child may develop a birth defect or medical disorder, but you are most likely not familiar with your diagnosis. Considering 1 in 4859 babies in the United States are born with anencephaly, understanding this disorder is smart for early diagnosis. Using this guide, you will understand anencephaly and learn some tips to prevent possible birth defects.

The 101

Anencephaly occurs during the development of your unborn baby's brain. The disorder prevents the upper part of the neural tube from closing completely. This leaves a part of your baby's brain exposed. In the womb, your unborn baby is able to survive. However, the baby will die during or shortly after birth.

Unfortunately, there are no known causes of anencephaly, but your doctor can determine if your baby has the condition using ultrasound technology and blood screens. In many cases, doctors recommend terminating the pregnancy to prevent further emotional distress. Of course, you may continue the pregnancy and have a normal delivery, but it is important to note that there is currently no cure for the birth defect.


While there is no cure for anencephaly, you can reduce your risk of birth defects or other medical conditions while pregnant. Following a healthy diet and exercise plan is essential for your unborn baby's health. Here are a few tips to ensure a healthy pregnancy and reduce your risk of birth defects:

  • Supplement – Eating a well-balanced diet may be difficult due to nausea, so adding a few important supplements to your diet is smart. Take a prenatal vitamin that contains 400 mcg of folic acid each day to promote the proper development of your baby. If prenatal vitamins make you nauseous, add foods to your diet that are rich in folic acid. Green leafy vegetables such as kale and spinach are great for you and your unborn baby's health. Fresh orange juice, beans, and enriched rice and cereal are also great options.
  • Water – Dehydration increases nausea, dizziness, moodiness, and fatigue, which can be problematic while pregnant. Be sure to drink sufficient water during your pregnancy.

Anencephaly is a serious birth defect that can be traumatic for you and your family, so early diagnosis is imperative. Using this guide on anencephaly, you will have a better understanding of this diagnosing and preventing this disorder.

For more information, contact Hudson Valley Imaging or a similar company.