Spina Bifida Overview

What is Spina Bifida?

Spina Bifida is a birth defect known as a neural tube defect (NTD) that happens during the first month of pregnancy, when the spine does not close properly while the baby is developing. In severe cases, the spinal cord protrudes through the back and may be covered by skin or a thin membrane. Which parts of the body are impaired, and how much, depends on the area of the spinal cord that is affected.  Here is a great video that summarizes spina bifida https://www.camptlc-sbant.com/main/videoDisplay/spinaBifidaVideo 

Spina Bifida is the most common permanently disabling birth defect that is associated with life in the United States. It’s a type of neural tube defect (NTD) that occurs when a baby’s neural tube fails to develop or close properly – the literal meaning for Spina Bifida is “split spine.” Typically occurring within the first 28 days of pregnancy while the neural tube is forming, Spina Bifida often occurs before a woman knows she is pregnant.

Commonly referred to as the “snowflake condition” of birth defects because no two cases are the same, Spina Bifida can range from mild to severe. The severity depends on everything from the size of the opening to the location on the spine.

The truth about Spina Bifida.

The medical advances and vast educational resources available today enable people with Spina Bifida to lead full, productive lives. Most have normal intelligence and fulfilling careers and live just as long as other people. Numerous resources are available to people affected by Spina Bifida, including the Spina Bifida Association of America, Easter Seals and Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children in Dallas, which has one of the largest Spina Bifida treatment clinics in the U.S, and Cook Children’s in Fort Worth.

Birth defects like Spina Bifida occur 7 out of every 10,000 live birth in the United States. Birth certficate data from the National Vital Statistics Systems,  a component of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS),  indicate a drop in the rate of Spina Bifida, however, Spina Bifida is considered to be underreported on birth certificates so the drop in the rate could be due to lack of reporting, an actual decrease in occurence.  In addition,  a number of Spina Bifida pregnancies are voluntarily terminated and we cannot certain how many pregnancies are terminated versus to carried to term.

There are a great many resources available for parents and adults with spina bifida.

If you need assistance, please call 214-728-9294  or  email Robin Lee at rlee@spinabifidant.org

If you need information in espanol call Maria at 469-269-8067.

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