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Tonic neck reflex in babies

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

Reflexes are a natural phenomenon in children. Parents need to know about these automatic movements to understand better what the little one is doing. These reflexes are involuntary and spontaneous movements and are a regular activity of the brain and nerves. These reflexes are of different types, and some are specific to certain periods of development. Among them is the tonic neck reflex.

A baby’s tonic neck reflex is also known as the fencing position. This reflex action is seen when the baby’s head is turned to the side, and the arm on the side is stretched out. At the same time, the opposite arm bends at the elbow, and its members on the opposite side are flexed. In the following FastlyHealarticle, we will talk more about the tonic neck reflex in babies and the rest of the reflexes in newborns.

Tonic neck reflex: symmetrical and asymmetrical

There are two types of tonic reflexes in the neck; symmetrical and asymmetric:

  • The asymmetric reflex is when the newborn turns his head to one side and, at the same time, extends his leg and arm to the same side.
  • The symmetric reflex is a bridging reflex, which means that, unlike other reflexes that occur in the neck, it is not present in the mother’s uterus or once it has been born but instead develops and integrates just before the stage. in which the child begins to crawl to allow this to be given correctly. This reflex usually disappears between 8 and 11 months after birth.

Tonic neck reflex: when it goes away

The tonic neck reflex is the one that occurs when the child is lying on his back and relaxed and tilts his head. The arm on the side where the leader has moved is extended, with the hand half open, while the opposite arm closes. If the baby turns his head to the other side, the positions are reversed. The name fencing position also knows this position since the place in which the baby remains is reminiscent of the typical attack of this sport.

In general, the tonic neck reflex should disappear between 6 and 7 months of age, and if it persists, we would be facing an abnormal situation that deserves attention. This reflex, if maintained, can end up affecting the ability to crawl and crawl on hands and knees. In the same way, it can make it impossible for the child to be still or concentrate, so if it persists, it will end up with adverse effects on balance control, writing, or arms control.

Newborn reflexes

The presence of reflexes and their intensity is one of the most significant signs that the development of the baby and its nervous system is correct. Some reflexes disappear as the baby grows, while others remain until adulthood. However, it is necessary to follow up since the presence of specific symptoms over time can be a sign of brain damage or in the nervous system.

Some of the reflexes that only occur in newborns, beyond the tonic neck reflex, are:

  • Suction reflex: the action of sucking every time an area near the baby’s mouth is touched.
  • Startle reflex: retract the legs and arms every time a loud noise is heard.
  • Automatic gait reflex: the action of moving the feet in a gait movement when the sole touches a hard surface.
  • Bend of the trunk: when caressing or tapping the baby’s side, it will bend the hips with a movement that is defined as dancing.
  • Grip reflex: it is the reflex movement of the baby when he closes his hand and squeezes it when he puts a finger in his palm.
  • Search reflex: if you caress the baby’s cheek, he will tilt his head and make sucking movements.
  • Parachute reflex: In older babies, it is the movement of extending the arms to stop a possible fall; however, this process appears before the child begins to walk.

As we have already explained, other reflections appear in the baby and that remain in adult life; some examples are:

This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Tonic neck reflex in babies , we recommend that you enter our Pregnancy and baby health category .

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