Spina Bifida is a birth defect that occurs when the bones of the spine don’t form properly. The mild form of this condition often does not cause any problems for the baby. It is often not even diagnosed and is seldom even visible. The more severe form results in fluid leaking out of the spine.
What causes Spina Bifida
While the exact cause of this abnormality is not known, experts believe genes and the environment can play a part. Women who are obese or who have diabetes are more likely to have a child with spina bifida.
Screening for Spina Bifida
Screening for Spina Bifida is done in the second trimester. It involves a blood test (AFP) and an ultra sound which will be used to check for signs of Spina Bifida.
Once again, these initial screening tests are not diagnostic and only indicate whether the baby is at risk of abnormality. If the results show that the baby is a high risk, the parents can make an informed decision as to the next step.
Can Spina Bifida be treated.
If a baby has a mild form of Spina Bifida they won’t need any form of treatment. If it is a more severe case, surgery may be needed. This surgery can, if need be, done before the baby is born. There are more severe cases which could result in the child needing a wheelchair or other aids.
This is one of the screenings that can offer parents peace of mind and empowers them to make informed decisions about the next course of action. Even if the tests come back showing a high risk, parents can decline any further testing.
All screening results should be discussed in detail with qualified healthcare professionals so that educated and informed decisions can be made.
If you are concerned about anything during your pregnancy please contact your health care provider. This post was approved by a health care professional but does not take the place of a diagnosis.
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