The measurement value also may be designated as less than the 3rd percentile. Microcephaly has been linked with the following problems: Diagnosis Microcephaly can be diagnosed during pregnancy or after the baby is born. Webinar on Surveillance Download slides Download transcript Treatments Microcephaly is a lifelong condition. If the healthcare provider suspects the baby has microcephaly, he or she can request one or more tests to help confirm the diagnosis. During Pregnancy During pregnancy, microcephaly can sometimes be diagnosed with an ultrasound test which creates pictures of the body.
Severe microcephaly also can be life-threatening. Although head circumference measurements may be influenced by molding and other factors related to delivery, the measurements should be taken on the first day of life because commonly-used birth head circumference reference charts by age and sex are based on measurements taken before 24 hours of age. Microcephaly is defined as a head circumference measurement that is smaller than a certain value for babies of the same age and sex. The provider then compares this measurement to population standards by sex and age. Birth Defects Research Part A: The most important factor is that the head circumference is carefully measured and documented. Mother To Baby on behalf of the Organization of Teratology Information Specialists This website provides comprehensive information to mothers, healthcare professionals, and the general public about exposures during pregnancy. This measurement value for microcephaly is usually less than 2 standard deviations SDs below the average. There is no known cure or standard treatment for microcephaly. What is severe microcephaly? Microcephaly can be an isolated condition, meaning that it can occur with no other major birth defects, or it can occur in combination with other major birth defects. Microcephaly can be determined by measuring head circumference HC after birth. If you are pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant, talk with your doctor about ways to increase your chances of having a healthy baby. If the healthcare provider suspects the baby has microcephaly, he or she can request one or more tests to help confirm the diagnosis. State birth defects tracking systems have estimated that microcephaly ranges from 2 babies per 10, live births to about 12 babies per 10, live births in the Unites States. Seizures Developmental delay, such as problems with speech or other developmental milestones like sitting, standing, and walking Intellectual disability decreased ability to learn and function in daily life Problems with movement and balance Feeding problems, such as difficulty swallowing Hearing loss Vision problems These problems can range from mild to severe and are often lifelong. Other Problems Babies with microcephaly can have a range of other problems, depending on how severe their microcephaly is. To see microcephaly during pregnancy, the ultrasound test should be done late in the 2nd trimester or early in the third trimester. Clinical and Molecular Teratology. Major birth defects data from population-based birth defects surveillance programs in the United States, Other causes of microcephaly, including severe microcephaly, can include the following exposures during pregnancy: If measurement within the first 24 hours of life is not done, the head circumference should be measured as soon as possible after birth. Other Resources The views of these organizations are their own and do not reflect the official position of CDC. Developmental services early in life will often help babies with microcephaly to improve and maximize their physical and intellectual abilities. During Pregnancy During pregnancy, microcephaly can sometimes be diagnosed with an ultrasound test which creates pictures of the body.
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