Anencephaly is a form of birth defect that primarily affects the formation of the brain and the formation of bone on the skull. Babies that are afflicted with anencephaly have brains that will encounter only minimal development. In most but not all cases, the cerebrum will have large parts missing or it will be missing in its entirety. This part of the brain is extremely significant because it controls touch, vision, movement, and thinking.
The condition also results in the skull being formed without a bone cover in the rear portion of the head and in some cases no bone on the front or sides as well. In some patients, the condition may be paired with heart defects, cleft palate and poor or unresponsive reflexes. There is no cure for anencephaly, and a person with an unhealthy cerebellum has a poor survival outlook. Here are the eight most common symptoms of anencephaly to look out for.
1. Abnormal blood screen results
Most pregnant women undergo various blood tests and blood screenings during the course of their pregnancy. In the early stages of fetal growth, symptoms of Anencephaly can be found during regular screening. Early screening won’t offer an exact diagnosis, however, abnormal results will indicate that there may be some form of a genetic defect in the fetus.
During the first trimester, maternal screening can be used to scan for chromosomal abnormalities. During the same time frame, doctors will conduct an ultrasound to check for extra fluid behind the neck. If there is fluid present in these two areas, it could mean that the fetus has some form of congenital heart defect which is often common in those suffering from Anencephaly.
As the pregnancy progresses, the OB/GYN may ask for a diagnostic test to be administered. In the event that this test also comes back with abnormal results additional confirmation may be required.