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Anencephaly is a neural tube defect.

What It Is

Anencephaly is a fatal birth defect characterized by the absence of a large part of the baby’s brain and skull. It is a result of the upper part of the neural tube failing to close. This devastating condition is one of the most common neural tube defects. Anencephaly usually occurs early in the pregnancy and can be diagnosed by a pregnancy ultrasound.


  • Absence of the skull and/or brain
  • Facial feature abnormalities
  • Heart defects


Anti-depressants: Maternal use of certain anti-depressants during pregnancy may increase a baby’s risk of developing anencephaly by 2.4x, according to research published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Clomid: Exposure to the fertility drug Clomid before birth may increase an infant’s risk of suffering anencephaly by 2.3x, according to a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).


There is no treatment for anencephaly, as it is a fatal condition. It is usually detected before birth during prenatal testing.


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