What Is the Difference Between a Palmar Grasp and a Pincer Grasp?

difference-between-palmar-grasp-pincer-grasp Kaori Ando/Image Source/Getty Images

A palmar grasp is placing the entire hand around an object that is pressed against the palm, while a pincer grasp is picking up a small object with just the thumb and forefinger, according to Everyday Health. The palmar grasp is a newborn reflex as opposed to the pincer grasp, which is a later developmental milestone.

MedlinePlus states that the palmar grasp is a reflex that healthy newborns exhibit at birth. When another person presses his index finger into the infant's palm, the baby curls her hand around the finger and grips it tightly. As the infant grows, the palmar grasp becomes a voluntary skill, and infants who are 5 or 6 months old grip objects with this grasp and manipulate them intentionally.

WebMD maintains that the pincer grasp typically develops in children before their first birthday, usually by the age of 10 months. The grasp makes it easy for infants to pick up small pieces, and they often use it during self feeding. Other developmental milestones typically exhibited at this age include pulling up into a standing position, saying a few words purposefully and pointing at objects with the index finger. Pointing is closely related to the pincer grasp. Some infants also take their first steps during this period.