Anencephaly is a congenital disability in which a baby's brain and skull do not fully form while in the mother's womb. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, anencephaly occurs in three out of every 10,000 pregnancies in the United States. Approximately 75% of babies with anencephaly are stillborn. Other times, a baby survives a mere few hours to a few days after being born.


1. What is Anencephaly?

Anencephaly is a neural tube defect or NTD. The upper part of the neural tube helps form the baby's brain and skull while the lower part of the neural tube helps form the baby's spinal cord and backbones while she is in her mother's womb. Anencephaly occurs when the upper part of the neural tube fails to close all the way. As a result, the baby is often born without her forebrain or cerebrum, which is responsible for controlling motor movements, processing sensory information, and producing language. In addition, the remaining parts of the baby's brain may remain uncovered by bone or skin.

Anencephaly AleksandarNakic / Getty Images

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