Getting to know the Moro reflex

Getting to know the Moro reflex

For the next 3 – 4 months Your Child will instinctively grasp a finger and root for your breast. This reflex will disappear later in life

What are reflexes?
Reflexes are uncontrolled movements. Some movements occur as part of Your Child’s normal activity, while others are in response to specific situations. The presence of the reflexes indicates normal brain and nerve activity, and some reflexes occur only in specific periods of development. Your Child’s pediatrician will normally check for them during every doctor visit.

The Moro reflex
The Moro reflex (or startle reflex) occurs when a baby is surprised by a loud sound, a sudden movement, or the sensation of falling. In response, Your Child will tighten the body, fling arms up and out and open up the usually tightly clenched fists, draw up the knees and then bring the arms and re-clenched fists close to the body — almost as if giving a hug. Seconds later, as abruptly as the startle started, it’s over. The startle reflex will decrease and ultimately disappear when Your Child is 4 to 6 months old. 

What if there is no reflex?
Your Child‘s doctor is the one to notice any abnormalities in reflexes. Not having a Moro reflex could signify damage to the brain or spinal cord, or it may be as a result of another injury. The pediatrician is the one to perform the test to find out what’s going on.


Dr. Piyawut Kreetapirom, MD. (31 March 2021)


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