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Persistent Birth Reflexes in Children and Adults

  1. What are birth reflexes? Reflexes are unavoidable responses triggered by certain stimuli that fall into the same pattern. It already starts with development in the womb. All the embryo has is a series of reflexes that help it survive and develop. These reflexes are neonatal reflexes that help the baby through the birth process, get breastfed, get a grip on things. They are the building blocks of development for gross and fine motor skills. Reflexes are automatically driven by the environment. As the brain is better developed, these reflexes are no longer necessary and the developed brain activity slows down these actions. This is a normal and essential stage of development. Due to the consequences of birth trauma, developmental disorders, chemicals in the body, shock and trauma in early life, these reflexes can persist: the nervous system reacts inappropriately.

Fourteen birth reflexes

  1. Withdrawal Reflex

Withdrawal reflex

  1. This reflex ensures that your baby starts to breathe immediately after birth. While the reflex is maintained, children can be anxious and shy, but outbursts of anger can also occur.

Moro reflex

  1. This is the alarm reflex. Hypersensitive behavior is observed when the reflex is maintained. A newborn is not yet well developed enough to decide whether a particular condition is life-threatening or not. It is protected by a revolutionary “reflex for everything”! Reflex to physical and hormonal events, providing coverage for the most common cases and events.

Suction reflex

  1. The newborn pushes its tongue forward to suck on the nipple. After about 3 to 4 months the reflex disappears and the tongue is pushed back to swallow the food.

Rooting Reflex

  1. Light touch on the cheek at the edge of the mouth causes the baby to turn his head and open the mouth. The tongue will prepare for the sucking. The baby opens its mouth and searches for the nipple or teat.

Babkin Reflex

  1. There is a relationship between the mouth and the hands in the first months of life: kneading movements of the hands during sucking from the chest. Mouth and hand movements simultaneously support the milk letdown reflex during feeding. In adults, this is a two-way response: hand movements can affect speech and mouth movements can affect the hands. This relationship creates muscle tension in the mouth during hand stimulation.

Grab reflex

  1. As the baby grows and develops, the pincer grip will begin to develop. This grip must be in place before fine motor skills can develop, with any finger touching the thumb.

Sole reflex

  1. This reflex ensures the coordination and harmony of the small muscles of the foot. Once the child starts to walk, steadfastness and balance are necessary. When the signals from the sole of the foot no longer reach the brain, hyperextension can occur. In some children, the toes may curl up when you touch the shoe.

Asymmetrical neck reflex

  1. This reflex is needed by the baby in the birthing process.

Tonic labyrinth reflex

  1. This reflex has a forward and a backward variant.

Sagittal labyrinth reflex

  1. Maintaining the reflex makes concentration difficult and very uncomfortable during computer work. The head hangs forward while sitting. Some children sit on their feet and spin around, leading to inattention and hyperactivity.

Walking and heel reflex

  1. Our body adjusts our postural muscles (back, stomach, calves, arms). It doesn't matter whether we are on our toes or on our heels. These two reflexes help to relieve tension from the lower leg and allow for ankle movements. They also ensure an ideal posture. A reasonable amount of information that we absorb from the environment is determined by sight. The position of the head has a huge influence on our posture. The walking and heel reflex focuses on the balance and the connection between vision and movement. Both reflexes provide the right balance between our movements and what we see. Sometimes both reflexes are present.

Suprapubic reflex

  1. This reflex is present from birth and is triggered when pressure is detected on the pubic bones. The body responds, tilting the pelvis and extending both legs forward. The opposite pattern is often seen in the upper part of the body, even before the reflex is triggered to stretch arms and legs and then crawl on all fours.

Symmetrical neck reflex

  1. This reflex causes the baby to come up on all fours to start crawling. Before crawling, the baby is seen sitting in the "cat" position: arms outstretched and buttocks resting on the lower legs. When the child moves his head down, the arms bend until the head rests on the floor and the buttocks rise into the air. When the head is lifted, the arms stretch and the buttocks sink back to the legs.

Spinal galant reflex

  1. When you start drawing a line with a finger on one side of the spine in a newborn, the hip on that side will pull out 45 degrees. If you draw the line on the other side of the spine, that hip will also pull to that side. If you do it on both sides at the same time, the child will pee. This reflex helps the baby to travel through the birth canal during contractions. The reflex can be maintained on one side or both sides.


  1. Uninhibited or underdeveloped reflexes can cause physical or emotional complaints. A number of therapies that can be followed for the maintenance of learning difficulties, (mental) developmental disorders, speech disorders, information processing disorders, language disorders, motor and physical disorders:

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