Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Do Children With Spina Bifida Have Learning Problems Or Have Difficulty Attaining Independence?

A: Some children with Spina Bifida do experience learning problems. They may have difficulty paying attention, expressing or understanding language, organizing, sequencing, reading, or solving abstract math problems. Persons with the most severe form of Spina Bifida need to learn mobility skills and can achieve independence with the use of crutches, braces, or wheelchairs. Also, with new techniques, children can become independent in managing their bowel and bladder problems.

Q: What Are Some Secondary Conditions Associated With Spina Bifida?

A: Due to a wide range of neurological damage and mobility impairment, it can be difficult to identify all secondary conditions. Examples of secondary conditions associated with Spina Bifida are latex allergy, tendonitis, obesity, skin breakdown, gastrointestinal disorders, learning disabilities, attaining and retaining mobility, depression, and social and sexual issues. However it is not known why individuals with Spina Bifida may have a heightened sensitivity to latex (rubber) products, ranging from toys to medical supplies. Symptoms include watery eyes, wheezing, hives, rash, swelling, and in severe cases a life threatening allergic reaction. These responses can occur when items containing latex touch the skin, the mucous membranes (like the mouth, genitals, bladder or rectum), open areas or enter the bloodstream (especially during surgery).  Click here to see the latest Latex product list.

Q: Are All People With Spina Bifida Allergic To Latex?

A: No, not all people with Spina Bifida have a latex allergy. It is thought that the more surgical and medical procedures a person is subjected to, the more likely they are to develop the allergy.

Q: Can Anything Be Done To Prevent Spina Bifida?

A: Yes. Recent studies have shown that one factor that increases the risk of having a baby with Spina Bifida is low folic acid levels before conception and during the first few weeks of pregnancy. Research supports the finding that if all women of childbearing age were to consume 0.4 mg of folic acid daily prior to pregnancy and during the first trimester, the incidence of Spina Bifida would be significantly reduced. Women with a history of a pregnancy resulting in Spina Bifida or who have Spina Bifida themselves should get a prescription for 4.0 mg. of folic acid for 1 to 3 months before trying to become pregnant.

Q: What Is Folic Acid?

A: Folic acid, a common water-soluble B vitamin, is essential for the functioning of the human body. During periods of rapid growth, such as pregnancy and fetal development, the body’s requirement for this vitamin increases. There are three ways for women to receive sufficient amounts of folic acid in their diet. Folic acid can be found in multivitamins, fortified breakfast cereals, and foods rich in folic acid (folate) such as broccoli, spinach, egg yolks, some fruit and fruit juices. However, the average American diet does not supply the recommended level of folic acid. Caution: Megadoses of general multivitamins can cause other birth defects.

Q: What Is The Longterm Outlook For A Child Born With Spina Bifida?

A: Thanks to medical advances, nearly all newborns with Spina Bifida survive and, with aggressive medical care and therapy, most of them will have normal intelligence, normal life spans, and have occupations and careers of their choosing.