What is spina bifida?
Spina bifida is a birth defect that affects the neural tube, which is the structure that develops into a baby’s brain and spine. It is characterised by a gap in a baby’s spine due to the spine not developing properly during pregnancy.
What causes spina bifida?
The exact cause of spina bifida is unknown but there are certain risk factors that can increase a baby’s chances of developing it such as:
- A lack of folic acid during pregnancy
- A family history of the condition
- Taking certain medications during pregnancy.
What are the symptoms of spina bifida?
While the gap in the spine can be fixed, damage to the nervous system caused by it may result in the following symptoms:
- Weakness/paralysis in the legs
- Bowel and urinary incontinence
- Loss of skin sensation in the legs
- Hydrocephalus which is a build-up of fluid on the brain
- Learning difficulties.