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The risk factors for persistence of primary reflexes

The development of motor skills and the trajectory of development are an excellent indicator of the proper maturation of the nervous system during the early years of childhood. If there are visible deviations in the child's psychomotor development, the primary reflexes are likely to persist. The risk period ranges from the embryonic stage of the child's development to the end of the first year of life.

1) From the embryonic phase up to the third trimester of pregnancy, the factors that have the most impact are mainly from the mother's side. This includes her overall health, nutrition, whether she engaged in enough physical exercise, and her stress levels during pregnancy.

2) In addition to the factors during pregnancy, complications during childbirth can also impact the development of primary reflexes. This may include conditions like hypoxia, delivery through the use of forceps, bell (vacuum extraction) or caesarean section. The insufficient development of primary reflexes can lead to difficulties during childbirth, as these reflexes play a vital role in the mechanics of labor and the movement of the fetus through the birth canal. To understand why primary reflexes may not be well developed by the end of a healthy pregnancy, it is necessary to investigate the embryonic and fetal stages of development.

3) In the first year of life, the persistence of primary reflexes is mainly influenced by various risk factors such as diseases, feeding problems (due to health complications and undeveloped search and sucking reflexes), and stress. Deviations in psychomotor development can indicate abnormal primary reflex development.

Symptoms of abnormal reflex development may include:

  • Delayed motor development (such as delayed crawling or climbing)

  • Stiffening of the child when picked up

  • Poor suction

  • High or low muscle tone

  • Discomfort during activities such as changing clothes or bathing.

4) Insufficient natural movement can also impact the development of primary reflexes. The activity of primary reflexes during the first few months of a child's life is closely linked to their psychomotor development. The activation of primary reflexes facilitates the development of neural connections in the central nervous system, allowing the child to learn new skills. Once the given reflex is inhibited by higher brain centers, the child can progress to the next stage of development. However, if the child lacks opportunities to move their body, the primary reflexes will not be activated enough to develop the necessary neural connections in the CNS. As a result, the higher brain centers may be unable to suppress the primary reflexes.


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