Infant Spina Bifida

What is Infant Spina Bifida?

Infant spina bifida happens when the baby’s spine doesn’t completely enclose around the raw nerves and the spinal column. This leaves the nerves vulnerable to injury. While this injury can happen anywhere along the spine, it especially affects the lower spine. There are a few different types of spina bifida. These include:

  • Spina bifida occulta
  • Meningocele
  • Myelomeningocele

Symptoms of Spina Bifida

There are a few different symptoms of this condition that you need to be aware of. Some of these include:

  • Bowel incontinence
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Weakness or paralysis of the legs
  • Lack of sensation in the skin
  • The cerebrospinal fluid buildup can cause brain damage

How Do Doctors Treat This Condition?

Spina bifida occulta is the most common form of this birth disorder. Statistically speaking, 40 percent of the individuals who have it don’t even realize that they are affected. When it comes to treating this birth disorder, doctors will most often choose treatment via therapy. Through therapy, they will try to protect the nerves. The child should also meet with nutritionists for better bone growth. Unfortunately, protecting the nerves and growing the vertebrae within the spine is a painful and arduous process.

Let’s say that the doctor has diagnosed your child with a case known as myelomeningocele. Normally, they will choose to treat the hydrocephalus and the myelomeningocele through a treatment known as shunting. This also helps relieve some of the brain’s fluid buildups that can cause brain damage and potentially cerebral palsy.

What Causes This Condition?

Doctors have still not learned exactly what causes baby spina bifida. However, upon closer examination, they believe that this happens due to environmental and genetic risk factors that get passed onto the child. Those with a family history of neural tube defects, for example, can be more susceptible.

In the past, doctors called spina bifida an isolated congenital disability. They don’t know the exact causes behind it, and they still haven’t learned exactly how to treat it. Based on recent research, doctors believe that they can lower the risk of this condition by as much as 70 percent by giving the mother folic acid pills during her pregnancy. The doctor can also look at the child’s spine at 21 weeks into the pregnancy to determine what the health of it looks like. If your child was born with spina bifida, you could be entitled to financial support.

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