Spina Bifida

What is Spina Bifida?

Spina Bifida is a congenital defect that results in a malformation of the spine.  Spina Bifida is considered a “Neural Tube Defect”. The neural tube is the part of an embryo in the first month of a pregnancy that eventually develops into a baby’s brain, spine, and skull. Spina Bifida occurs when a child’s neural tube does not properly close early in the pregnancy. There are three main forms of Spina Bifida: spina bifida occulta, meningocele, and myelomeningocele. Each of these types of Spina Bifida affect individuals in different ways. Depending on how the nerves in an individual’s spinal cord are affected by Spina Bifida, a variety of physical and intellectual disabilities may occur.


Signs of Spina Bifida:

According to the Centre of Disease Control and Prevention, the early signs to watch for are:

  • A patch of hair or mark found somewhere on a newborn’s back. (this is the location of the defect).
  • Loss of feeling in legs or feet.
  • Difficulties controlling bowel and bladder.
  • Difficulties moving legs.
  • Learning disabilities found in approximately 20% of cases.

Treatment for Spina Bifida:

Although some cases of Spina Bifida may be remedied by surgery, the centre of Disease Control and Prevention states that keeping a child active is one of the best treatments for Spina Bifida. At SMILE, we will work with families of children living with Spina Bifida and customize a series of intensive therapy services that will help keep your child active and optimize their life while living with Spina Bifida.

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