Parents are usually told that many anencephalic offspring die in utero or soon after delivery, and many obstetricians offer electivetermination of the pregnancy. Following the personal experience of the first author, a personal website was created with the intentionof providing information and exchanging views with other parents confronted with a prenatal diagnosis of anencephaly. Data werecollected from 211 pregnancies where the parents opted not to terminate pregnancy.
These data revealed that polyhydramnios was a feature in 56 (26%) pregnancies, death in utero in 15 (7%) pregnancies, 72 (34%) babies were born prematurely (<37 weeksof gestation), 113 (53%) at term and 21 (10%) after 42 weeks. Stillbirth, presumably resulting from intrapartum death, occurred in 43 (20%) deliveries. One hundred and fifty-three (72%) ofanencephalic offspring were liveborn, of those, 103 (67%) died within 24 hours but 6/211 survived 6 or more days (maximum28 days).
Continuation of pregnancy after a diagnosis of anencephaly is medically safe and should be considered as anoption.
Jaquier M, Klein A, Boltshauser E., Spontaneous pregnancy outcome after prenatal diagnosis of anencephaly, BJOG 2006; 113:951-953