Anencephaly is a condition in which a fetus forms with a partially formed brain and spinal cord. A child with this condition is stillborn or dies shortly after birth.

Anencephaly can be detected with prenatal tests, such as ultrasound and amniocentesis. If a woman learns that she is pregnant with a fetus that has anencephaly, termination of the pregnancy is usually offered.

Current as of: June 4, 2014

Author: Healthwise Staff

Medical Review: Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine & Siobhan M. Dolan, MD, MPH - Reproductive Genetics