What is the Moro Reflex?
When a baby is surprised or scared, for example by a sudden movement or a loud noise, the baby will startle, which means: extend neck and arms and breathe in, followed by flexing of spine and limbs and a loud cry.
This reflex will help the baby take the first breath when first born and is a way to communicate the need for assistance and help from mum.
This is a fight-flight reflex, a stress response, during which stress hormones are released into the blood stream. This will cause the heart rate, breathing rate and blood pressure to increase, just as when an adult is stressed.
This reflex should integrate within the first few months of life and become the less severe reaction we as adults know as startle.
The symptoms of the moro reflex
This reflex should disappear between 2-4 months of age. If retained, the child/adult may be hypersensitive to other senses and may over-react to stimulation and be in constant ‘fight or flight’.
This will lead to over activity of the sympathetic nervous system and the Adrenal Glands.
Due to the constant demands on the adrenal glands, they may become fatigued and a child/person may suffer with allergies, asthma, depressed immune system, and chronic illnesses.
Other observable social/learning problems associated with a retained Moro reflex are
- Poor adaptability and resistance to change
- Often clings to familiarity
- Attention problems; easily distracted; hyperactive movements and behavior
- Hypersensitivity to light, sound, touch, smell; tendency to suffer from sensory overload
- General anxiety; free floating anxiety
- Motion sickness, poor balance and coordination
- Easily angered or emotional outbursts
- Difficulty sleeping or settling down to sleep
- Poor stamina; cycles between hyperactivity and fatigue
- Weakened immune system
Exercises to help the brain developing the Moro Reflex
Exercise One - Starfish
Exercise Two - Variations