moro reflex

Last reviewed 01/2018

This is an example of a primative reflex.

It is elicited by:

  • placing the infant on a flat surface in the supine position.
  • steady the infant by placing one hand under the infant's shoulder.
  • the head is flexed on the body by the other hand.
  • when the infant is moderately relaxed and symmetrical the head is released. This will result in the abduction phase when the infant will abduct his arms at the shoulders and flex his arms at the elbows and wrists. The hands open but the fingers remain curved. There may be adduction at the hips. Abduction of the arms may be followed by adduction.
  • the baby usually cries after the reflex is elicited.

A moro reflex is normally present at birth and disappears by the age of about five months.

An absent moro reflex at birth implies brain dysfunction. Persistence of a moro reflex suggests a brain lesion.