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New parents are alarmed the first time they see their baby startle. The baby is calm and all of a sudden he extends his arms and opens his palms.
It is an involuntary and totally normal movement that is called the Moorish reflex.. This startle in the newborn baby is indicative of good health, in fact, if it were not done before a certain stimulus, we would be facing a possible case of brain or spinal cord damage.
It is an involuntary response to stimulation, it is one of the primary reflexes of the newborn baby and usually disappears after 3 or 4 months of life.
It is known as the startle reflex, the baby's hug reflex, or the Moor reflex.. This last definition is the most common and is due to its discoverer, the Austrian Ernst Moro, a well-known pediatrician who, between the late 19th and early 20th centuries, made important advances in pediatrics.
Checking the moro reflex is one of the first tests performed on a newborn baby, It involves placing the baby lying on a soft surface, for example a cushion, raising its head carefully and letting it fall backwards, supporting it quickly (without hitting the cushion). If the child extends his arms with the palms up and even cries, that is, if he starts for a few seconds, and then the arms return to their position and he relaxes, his response is normal and is a sign of good health.
The baby can also be observed to perform this movement while sleeping, if he hears a loud sound that scares him or if we change his position abruptly.
If the moro reflex is not appreciated in the baby both in the tests carried out immediately after birth and in subsequent tests or even if it is performed but in an asymmetric way, that is, only with one side of the body, it could be an indication of:
- Brain damage.
- Damage to the spinal cord.
- Fractured clavicle.
- Damage to the brachial plexus (these are the nerves that run from the lower neck to the upper shoulder area)
In the absence of startle in the newborn baby, the pediatrician will perform a physical examination and take a family history to rule out possible congenital defects.
If the Moor's reflex persisted beyond the fourth or fifth month of the baby's life may indicate neurological damage.
This video shows what the startle reflex is in a newborn baby.
You can read more articles similar to Moro reflex or startle in the newborn baby, in the category of Newborn on site.