Bifida comes in three forms:
occurs when the protective covering of the spinal
cord, the meninges and spinal nerves protrude from
the spinal cord. This type of Spina Bifida is classified
as the most serious type because it almost always
causes nerve damage and severe disabilities. An area
on the spinal cord and skin is open and visible.
type Spina Bifida is similar to myelomeningocele
except only the meninges protrude from the spine.
It generally is an open area on the back with a pouch
filled with cerebrospinal fluid. This type usually
includes only minor, if any, disabilities.
Spina Bifida is the most common form and
is sometimes referred to as “hidden Spina Bifida”.
There is no opening in the back and the spinal cord
and nerves appear normal. This form of Spina Bifida
is so mild, some people can go their entire lives
and not realize they even have it. During development,
there may be a small gap in the vertebrae of spine.
This is generally harmless, but some neurological
deterioration can be spotted as a child ages or later
woman of child bearing age has the potential to become
pregnant with a child who suffers from neural tube
defects. The Centers of Disease Control and
Prevention list the following known risk factors for
neural tube defects:
- A previous neural tube defect affected pregnancy
increases a woman’s chance of having another
neural tube defect affected pregnancy by nearly
of certain anti-seizure medications
temperatures in early pregnancy (hot tub use and
Neural tube defects are more common among white
women than black women and more common among Hispanic
women than non-Hispanic women.
child is usually diagnosed with Spina Bifida in-utero.
If a child is diagnosed with a severe form, they are
generally operated on within twenty four hours of
birth to decrease infection and to preserve spinal
cord function. Occulta Spina Bifida usually requires
and researchers believe that if every woman consumed
a multi-vitamin that included folic acid before they
became pregnant, the risk of Spin Bifida would dramatically
decrease. It is recommended by the Spina Bifida Association
that all women of child bearing age should take 400
micrograms of folic acid every day. This is due, in
part, by the fact that many pregnancies are unplanned.
with Spina Bifida comes with some special considerations.
While children with occulta Spina Bifida may have
no limitations, children with menegocele and myelomeningocele
may have some neurological and mobility impairments.
Parents need to work closely with doctors, other care
givers and professionals to help give their child
the best possible advantage. Due to increased knowledge
and awareness, children with Spina Bifida can and
do grow up to lead happy and productive lives. Children
should be encouraged to be as independent as possible
and be involved in their own care.
is currently no cure for Spina Bifida. The best known
way to help prevent Spina Bifida and other major birth
defects that affect the brain and spinal cord is the
use of folic acid before and during pregnancy.
Rebecca Pillar 2007