BACK TOTOP Browse A-ZSearchBrowse A-ZABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ0-9 E-mail FormEmail ResultsName:Email address:Recipients Name:Recipients address:Message: Print-FriendlyBookmarksbookmarks-menuMoro reflexStartle response; Startle reflex; Embrace reflexA reflex is a type of involuntary (without trying) response to stimulation. The Moro reflex is one of many reflexes that are seen at birth. It normally goes away after 3 or 4 months.ReflexesA reflex is a muscle reaction that happens automatically in response to stimulation. Certain sensations or movements produce specific muscle respons...ImageRead Article Now Book Mark Article Considerations Your baby's health care provider will check for this reflex right after birth and during well-child visits. To see the Moro reflex, the child will be placed face up on a soft, padded surface. The head is gently lifted with enough support to just begin to remove the body weight from the pad. (Note: The infant's body should not be lifted off the pad, only the weight removed.)The head is then released suddenly, allowed to fall backward for a moment, but quickly supported again (not allowed to bang on the padding). The normal response is for the baby to have a startled look. The baby's arms should move sideways with the palms up and the thumbs flexed. The baby may cry for a minute. As the reflex ends, the infant draws its arms back to the body, elbows flexed, and then relaxes. Causes This is a normal reflex present in newborn infants. Absence of the Moro reflex in an infant is abnormal. Absence on both sides suggests damage to the brain or spinal cord. Absence on only one side suggests either a broken shoulder bone or an injury to the group of nerves that run from the lower neck and upper shoulder area into the arm may be present (these nerves are called brachial plexus). A Moro reflex in an older infant, child, or adult is abnormal. What to Expect at Your Office Visit An abnormal Moro reflex is most often discovered by the provider. The provider will perform a physical exam and ask about the child's medical history. Medical history questions may include:History of the labor and birth Detailed family history Other symptoms If the reflex is absent or abnormal, further tests may need to be done to examine the child's muscles and nerves. Diagnostic tests, in cases of decreased or absent reflex, may include:Shoulder x-ray Tests for disorders associated with brachial plexus injuryBrachial plexus injuryThe brachial plexus is a group of nerves around the shoulder. A loss of movement or weakness of the arm may occur if these nerves are damaged. This...Read Article Now Book Mark Article Open ReferencesReferencesHerring JA. The orthopaedic examination: a comprehensive overview. In: Herring JA, ed. Tachdjian's Pediatric Orthopaedics. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2022:chap 3.Schor NF. Neurologic evaluation. In: Kliegman RM, St. Geme JW, Blum NJ, Shah SS, Tasker RC, Wilson KM, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 21st ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 608.Volpe JJ. Neurological examination: normal and abnormal features. In: Volpe JJ, Inder TE, Darras BT, et al, eds. Volpe's Neurology of the Newborn. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 9.AllVideoImagesTogMoro reflex - illustration The Moro reflex is a normal reflex for an infant when he or she is startled or feels like they are falling. The infant will have a startled look and the arms will fling out sideways with the palms up and the thumbs flexed. Absence of the Moro reflex in newborn infants is abnormal and may indicate an injury or disease.Moro reflexillustrationNeonate - illustration A newly born infant is also called a neonate.NeonateillustrationMoro reflex - illustration The Moro reflex is a normal reflex for an infant when he or she is startled or feels like they are falling. The infant will have a startled look and the arms will fling out sideways with the palms up and the thumbs flexed. Absence of the Moro reflex in newborn infants is abnormal and may indicate an injury or disease.Moro reflexillustrationNeonate - illustration A newly born infant is also called a neonate.NeonateillustrationRelated Information Infant reflexes(Symptoms)Traction(Special Topic) Review Date: 12/10/2021 Reviewed By: Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team. The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. 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