What is it?

Spina bifida is a birth defect in which there is incomplete closing of the spine and the membranes around the spinal cord during early development in pregnancy. The most common location is the lower back.
risk factors include genetic factors, lack of folic acid before and during pregnancy, certain medications, obesity and poorly controlled diabetes.
There are three main types:
1. spina bifida occulta - or hidden spina bifida - this type does not cause any disabilities and may go unnoticed until later in life. There is usually no opening in the baby’s back, but only a gap in the spine.
2. meningocele - this type involves a sack of fluid outside an opening in the baby’s back. the sack does not contain any part of the spinal cord itself.
3. myelomeningocele - also called open spina bifida - this is the most severe form. It involves a sack outside the opening in the baby’s back, That also contains parts of the spinal cord and nerves.

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Additional names

This group contains additional names:
- Meningomyelocele

Signs & symptoms

spina bifida Occulta has no or only mild signs, which may include a hairy patch, dimple, dark spot or swelling on the back at the site of the gap in the spine.
Meningocele and myelomeningocele may present as a visible sack of fluid outside the baby’s back. while meningocele usually causes mild symptoms, problems associated with myelomeningocele include poor ability to move and feel the lower limbs, impaired bladder or bowel control, accumulation of fluid in the brain (hydrocephalus), and latex allergy.

Diagnosis

certain tests are In use to detect spina bifida during pregnancy. these include:
* blood tests (AFP test)
* ultra-sound
* amniocentesis
diagnosis after pregnancy in made by physical examination of the baby and additional imaging tests such as ultrasound.

Treatment

prevention - dietary supplementation with folic acid has been shown to be helpful in reducing the incidence of spina bifida.
The treatment for spina bifida will be different for each person because symptoms and severity can vary. In some cases, especially in spina bifida occulta, there may not be any treatment needed.
myelomeningocele and meningocele usually require surgery to put the exposed sack and nerves back in place. Even after surgery is performed, some symptoms and disability can remain. management will be based on the severity of symptoms, and may include: additional surgeries, medications, physical and occupational therapy, walking aids and more

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

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