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Spina bifida

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Spina bifida is one of the more common birth defects. It occurs when the tissue surrounding the developing spinal cord of a foetus doesn't close properly. Genetic and environmental factors can increase the chance of spina bifida, although usually the specific cause is not known. About 5000 Australians are living with spina bifida.

If you are a woman trying to conceive, you can reduce your chance of having a child with spina bifida by ensuring you are getting enough folate. You may need folate supplements from one month before conception to 3 months after to reduce your risk.

There is no cure for spina bifida. Treatment may involve surgery, but it depends on the severity of the condition.

Follow the links below to find trusted information about spina bifida.

Last reviewed: October 2016

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Spina bifida

Spina bifida is a condition that affects the normal development of a baby’s spine early in pregnancy.

Read more on Pregnancy, Birth & Baby website

Spina Bifida - Antenatal Consultation in Spina Bifida | Sydney Children's Hospitals Network

The Spina Bifida Services within the childrens hospitals network provide antenatal consultations

Read more on Sydney Children's Hospitals Network website

Spina bifida | Novita

Major effects of spina bifida Paralysis of the legs There may be complete paraplegia, or partial or minor paralysis depending on the level of the spinal injury

Read more on Novita Children's Services website

Spina Bifida - Be active kids with Spina Bifida | Sydney Children's Hospitals Network

Physical activity Physical activity is very important for all children, and especially for children living with Spina Bifida

Read more on Sydney Children's Hospitals Network website

Spina Bifida - Tethered Cord and Spina Bifida. | Sydney Children's Hospitals Network

What is Tethered Spinal Cord Syndrome? For people living with Spina Bifida their spinal cord at birth is usually low-lying or tethered

Read more on Sydney Children's Hospitals Network website

Continence in spina bifida: bladder and bowel - myDr.com.au

Issues surrounding bladder or bowel continence are a concern for many people with spina bifida.

Read more on myDr website

Hydrocephalus and Spina Bifida | Sydney Children's Hospitals Network

Many people living with Spina Bifida also have a condition called Hydrocephalus

Read more on Sydney Children's Hospitals Network website

Spina Bifida - Protecting your skin | Sydney Children's Hospitals Network

What is different about skin and Spina Bifida? People living with Spina Bifida can develop skin problems due to limited movement, weak muscles, poor sensation or lack of feeling and often poor circulation

Read more on Sydney Children's Hospitals Network website

Spina Bifida - Role of the treating team: Physiotherapy | Sydney Children's Hospitals Network

Most children living with Spina Bifida are given the chance to walk

Read more on Sydney Children's Hospitals Network website

Spina Bifida - Equipment needs | Sydney Children's Hospitals Network

Every person living with Spina Bifida will have different equipment needs

Read more on Sydney Children's Hospitals Network website

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