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Spina Bifida – Side Effects and Precautions



The joy of a new life developing inside of a belly provide expectant mothers a natural urge to care for her baby. Pregnant ladies go through different emotions, ranging from excitement to paranoia for the well being of their babies. Though maternal hormones can cause such mood swings, it is also important to bear in mind that pregnancies are also associated with a weakened immune system which can increase the risk of several infectious diseases. One of the most dangerous congenital diseases is Spina Bifida.

What is Spina Bifida?

It is the birth defect that occurs when the neural tube, addressing the spinal cord does not develop fully. Since it causes the part of the spinal cord to obtrude through the neural tube opening. The child with Spina Bifida has to suffer from the nervous system damage which leads to paralysis. Basically, it is a common birth defect which relatively causes 1500 infants in the United States every year. Doctors are not certain what causes this disease, however; there are few risk facts responsible for its development. They have increased body temperature, obesity, diabetes, folic acid deficiency, etc.

Types of Spina Bifida

Spina Bifida is of three different types. They are meningocele, occulta, and myelomeningocele. Each of these types has different levels of problems and symptoms. Here’s how?

Occulta: It is the safest form of spina bifida which shows that the layer of skin envelops the opening of the spine. It rarely causes any disability or symptom.

Meningocele: This kind of Spina bifida covers the brain and spinal cord. The child diagnosed with Spina bifida has to undergo the surgery in order to prevent any nerve damage.

Myelomeningocele: It is the most severe type which occurs when the spinal cord is exposed through the spine. It causes partial or complete analysis of the body.

Side Effects through Spina Bifida

Urine and kidney problems: There are many problems associated with this disease. Studies have proven that patients with this kind of disease require lifelong antibiotics to prevent the risk of infections. Approximately, 70% of the patients are provided some form of drug therapy while 30% do not respond well to the treatment.

For such patients, major surgeries are performed during later childhood, i.e. usually between the 7 to 10 years of age. This surgery involves an operation on the bladder with the purpose to make the catheter pass into the bladder easier and thereby allow the children to catheterize themselves.

Muscles and movement: The increasing weight of the child may cause progressive problems with walking. This results in the imbalance of actions of the tendons and causes joint deformities. Operation is needed to ankle, knee, or hip muscles.

Bowel Movements: The children with Spina bifida face problems in controlling their bowel movements. The main root behind this is constipation which can often be controlled by medicines. If it does not work, it is highly recommended to perform washouts of the bowel.

How it can be prevented?

By the time, this disease is detected in the fetus, it becomes too late to prevent it. So measures should be considered before or during pregnancy. Folic acid, a nutrient that is found in leafy vegetables, nuts, bean, citrus food, and fortified cereals can help in reducing the risk of this disease. Many doctors have recommended taking the appropriate amount of folic acid.