8 FACTS ABOUT SPINA BI­FIDA

Your Baby & Toddler - - Special Needs -

1 Spina bi­fida (SB) is a birth de­fect that oc­curs when a baby’s neu­ral tube doesn’t close prop­erly in the first month of preg­nancy.

2 There are 3 types of SB, rang­ing from very mild to very se­vere.

3 The most se­vere form is myelomenin­go­cele (pro­nounced “my-lomen-ing-go-seal”). It’s also called “open spina bi­fida”.

4 With myelomenin­go­cele, the spinal cord is ex­posed, mak­ing a new­born very sus­cep­ti­ble to nerve dam­age and dan­ger­ous in­fec­tions.

5 SB can lead to sev­eral phys­i­cal and neu­ro­log­i­cal prob­lems, in­clud­ing weak leg mus­cles and paral­y­sis, blad­der and kid­ney prob­lems and learn­ing dif­fi­cul­ties.

6 Most peo­ple with myelomenin­go­cele also have hy­dro­cephalus, which is a build-up of fluid on the brain. In this case, a shunt is in­serted to drain the ex­cess fluid.

7 Some of the risk fac­tors for SB are a folic acid de­fi­ciency in early preg­nancy, un­man­aged di­a­betes, obe­sity and a fam­ily his­tory of SB.

8 With surgery, doc­tors can close the open­ing and put the spinal cord back in place. How­ever, there is no cure for the nerves that have al­ready been dam­aged.

Levi right af­ter the op­er­a­tion to close the open­ing in his back

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