Spina Bifida

birth defect that affects the development of the spinal cord

Signs & Prevention

  • Your ethnic group and genes can play a role in the risk of your child getting this defect.
  • Taking Folic Acid during pregnancy helps cell growth and development as well as aiding to the development of the neural tube. This can reduce the chance of Spina Bifida.
  • A high fever during the pregnancy can increase the chances of this defect so do what you can to stay healthy and fever free.
  • Women with epilepsy and take valproic acid to control the seizures are also at an increased risk.

Treatment, Medication, & Surgery

  • There is a surgery that needs to be done if the spinal defects is visible on top of the skin.
  • Having Spina Bifida can cause Chiari II malformation, Hydrocephalus where in some cases a surgeon must drain the liquid from the baby's brain, Latex allergy where the baby needs to stay away from latex or rubber items, Learning disabilities, Meningitis where the baby will need to take antibiotics, Paralysis where some babies can start walking with crutches or braces at an early age to help them when they are older, Skin problems, Tethered spinal cord which can be treated with surgery, and Urinary tract infections that keep them from being able to control when they can go to the bathroom and tubes called catheters can be used to help this.

Statistics

Spina bifida is the most common neural tube defect affecting babies in the United States. Out of the four million children born each year, between 1,500-2,000 are affected.

Tip

Make sure to maintain a healthy diet consisting of lots of protein, fruit, and vegetables while pregnant. This will help the mother and the baby stay healthy through term and reduce the risk of problems such as Spina Bifida.

Organizations

  • Spina Bifida Association
  • National Organization of Rare Disorders
  • A March of Dimes