The Moro Reflex

Min (Min et al. 2011) noted that “Of the primitive reflexes, the… Moro… reflexes are frequently documented in the literature due to their important roles…Persistent, vigorous, weak, or unsymmetrical responses are closely-linked with neurological impairment in full term and high-risk new-borns”. The Moro reflex is one that has to deal with your baby’s ability to understand the loss of support. Essentially, your baby will display the Moro reflex when he or she is experiencing the sensation of falling. When babies begin to feel as if they are falling, they will respond in a specific manner.

In order to detect the Moro reflex, there are three features that you should look for. The first feature is that your baby will try to find support by spreading out his or her arms. This is known as abduction. Next, your baby will bring the arms back together. This is called adduction. Lastly, your baby will begin to cry and flail her legs and arms. The Moro reflex is typically present right at birth. Your baby will begin to lose this reflex anywhere from three to five months after birth.


Min, S., Ahn, Y. & Lee, S., 2011, Assessment of Primitive Reflexes in High-Risk Newborns, Journal of Clinical Medicine Research 3(6), December, 285-290.

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