An estimated 130,000 people in the United States are currently living with Spina Bifida – the most common permanently disabling birth defect in the U.S. Every day, around eight babies are born in the U.S. with Spina Bifida or a similar birth defect of the brain and spine. October is Spina Bifida Awareness Month. It was created by The Spina Bifida Association (SBA) in order to highlight the occurrence of the birth defect, offer recommendations to decrease the chances of developing Spina Bifida, and educate the public what it’s like to live with Spina Bifida.
Spina Bifida is a birth defect which can affect a child’s ability to walk and to control its bladder and bowel functions, and also affect its brain. Spina Bifida literally means “split spine.” Spina Bifida happens when a baby is in the womb and the spinal column does not close all of the way. The birth defect occurs during the first month of pregnancy when the spine of a baby fails to close which can lead to paralysis and many other permanent problems. According to SBA, the main cause of Spina Bifida is unknown and the effects for each person are different. No one knows for sure. Scientists believe that genetic and environmental factors act together to cause the condition.
People with Spina Bifida can have mental and social problems. While challenging at times, those affected are able to attend school, work, raise a family, and spend time with friends just like everyone else. Children with Spina Bifida can grow up and live full lives with help. Most do well in school, and many play in sports. Because of today’s medicine, about 90 percent of babies born with Spina Bifida now live to be adults, about 80 percent have normal intelligence and about 75 percent play sports and do other fun activities.
Every day, 60 million women are at risk of having a baby born with Spina Bifida. It’s necessary that people are aware that Spina Bifida affects a startling number of people in the U.S. If you want to learn more, visit http://www.spinabifidaassociation.org
Image source: http://www.sbccincy.org/?fuseaction=cms.page&id=1269