What is the outlook for babies who have anencephaly?

Anencephaly is a fatal condition. Most babies with anencephaly pass away before birth, and the pregnancy ends in miscarriage. Babies born with anencephaly die within a few hours, days or weeks.

Infants who survive at birth may seem to respond to touch or sound, but these responses are involuntary. Newborns with anencephaly are unconscious, blind and deaf. You may worry that your baby is distressed or uncomfortable, but babies with anencephaly cannot feel pain.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 08/18/2020.

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