Facts About Spina Bifida

  • Spina bifida is a birth defect that occurs when the spinal column of a fetus does not develop (close) properly. Usually, this occurs during the first month of the gestation period, before a woman even knows she is pregnant.
  • According to the Spina Bifida Association of America (SBAA), spina bifida occurs in 7 out of every 10,000 live births in the United States.
  • Spina bifida is more common than muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, and cystic fibrosis combined.
  • In 1996, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published a study on the incidence of spina bifida among different ethnic groups. The results are as follows:

1. Hispanics (most at risk)

2. White

3. American Indian / Alaskan Native

4. Black

5. Asian / Pacific Islander (least at risk)

  • Women of childbearing age are encouraged to take 400 mcg (0.4 mg) of folic acid daily before and during the first three (3) months of pregnancy in order to lower the risk of giving birth to a child with spina bifida.
  • About 80 percent of people with Spina Bifida have hydrocephalus that needs treatment. Hydrocephalus is the condition resulting from the accumulation of excess cerebrospinal fluid in and around the brain. Treatment refers to “shunting,” or inserting a shunt (a tube with a valve). The shunt’s valve helps to drain the cerebrospinal fluid so it won’t build up around the brain.
  • Most shunts are inserted within days or weeks of a child’s birth. Doing so could prevent the following symptoms: growth in head size, feeling lethargic, nausea, problems with balance and coordination, mental retardation, urinary incontinence, and memory loss.
  • About 20 percent of people with Spina Bifida will need more than one shunt revision surgery.

    *More to come soon!


    4 responses to “Facts About Spina Bifida

    1. Sofiyan Chauhan

      I just want to say, thanks for all this help. Im in 7th grade and go to Eagle Ridge Middle School. I have a Genetic Disorder Research paper and I put some of the information into my own words. I hope some more info comes so I can use it.

      • Laura

        Uhhh I’m a little confused, LOL. I approved THIS comment, but not another one by the same person because it appears to say “poop on you.” If it’s some sort of typo, then I understand. If not…then, what can I say?

    2. Laurita I can’t tell you how blown away I am by your entire website. I just spent the last 45 minutes reading it all and admiring you for not only your honesty and courage, but your jokes and good writing! You’re a good read, my friend! It was wonderful seeing you the other day and so proud of all your doing with SB awareness, this is SO great.

      • Laura


        I know we haven’t ever really gotten to “hang out” outside of school and, well, Broadway! But know that I consider you a wonderful friend and an inspiration. I will never forget your kind words to me in that phone conversation so long ago. They really buoyed me up during an especially difficult and painful time in high school, and to me, you will always remain a “hero” because of that. My parents were thrilled that we got to see you, and couldn’t stop saying the greatest things about you!

        You will be a star, my friend. And, no matter what, you’ll forever be one to me.

        Just keep my humble little initiative in your prayers. Yes, being honest is tough for me– it takes a lot emotionally. But I don’t do it just for me. There are SO MANY people who are counting on this. Please share it with everyone, and may Spina Bifida awareness soon be the hottest trend on Broadway.

        Love Always,

        Laurita šŸ˜‰

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