The Moro Reflex emerges in the uterus at around 9-12 weeks and integrates when the infant is around 3-4 months of age. It is a protective movement in response to loud noises, the feeling of being dropped or being startled. When a baby is startled its first response is to arch its back, spread out its arms and fingers, take in a sharp gasp of air and then curl up into a fetal position with the opposite arm over the opposite leg. If this reflex is not integrated, it can block the development of other reflexes that follow. It is the seat of brain development.

If not integrated the body will always be alert and in a heightened state of awareness as the response stimulates the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol. These stress hormones are involved with immunity and allergies, retention can also contribute to food sensitivities. The retained Moro Reflex causes a fight or flight response which can present itself as follows:

Fight Response

  • Defiance
  • Anger, aggressive outbursts, over reactive
  • Tantrums
  • Not playing nicely
  • Controlling
  • Manipulating

Flight Response

  • Shy, timid
  • Withdrawn
  • Not engaging
  • Chronic anxiety, blushing uncontrollably when embarrassed or nervous
  • Panic attacks

Signs of retention

Sensory Processing Disorders, hyper or hyposensitivity to stimuli such as light, noise and touch
Difficulty with maths and reasoning
Problems with vision, eye movement, black print on white background
Easily distracted, poor memory and sequencing skills
Shy/timid, withdrawn, dislike of change or surprise
Low self-esteem
Excessive blinking, problems maintaining eye contact
Balance and poor coordination, motion sickness, vertigo
Allergies and low immunity
Food sensitive/poor digestion


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