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Did you know?
Taking folic acid greatly reduces the risk of having a baby born with spina bifida. Folic acid is found in most multivitamins and should be taken daily during pregnancy.
Spina bifida is the most common disabling birth defect in the U.S.
Spina bifida is a neural tube defect, which means there's a problem with the spinal cord or its covering. In spina bifida, the spinal column of the fetus doesn't close completely during the first month of pregnancy.
Spina bifida causes some paralysis and difficulty walking. People with spina bifida need assistance in the form of braces, crutches or wheelchairs. The legs, bowel and bladder are usually affected, but this can vary based on where the lesion is.
People with spina bifida may also suffer from:
- Difficulty learning
- Urinary or bowel problems
- Hydrocephalus (excess fluid in the brian)
Vanderbilt is one of a select few medical centers in the U.S. that is equipped to operate on unborn children with spina bifida. Click here to learn more.
There is no cure for spina bifida. Doctors treat the complications and symptoms that spina bifida causes. The risk of spina bifida can be reduced in pregnancy if the pregnant woman takes folic acid.