Spina Bifida College Essay

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Topics: Folic acid
When a mother is pregnant, the first few weeks of the pregnancy are most delicate and imperative for the offspring’s development throughout term and, even, life. Folic Acid, like many other things mothers must be aware of, is one of the most important vitamins that can help prevent brain and spinal birth defects. These types of birth defects are called Neural Tube Defects (NTDs), which can develop during the early stages of pregnancy, when the embryo starts to develop their neural tube into the spinal cord and other structures, like the brain, that protect and surround those areas (NIH 2012). These birth defects occur during the first stages of pregnancy but a lot women do not realize that they are pregnant at that stage. On average, every …show more content…
The most common type of neural tube defect is called Spina Bifida, which literally means split spine, when the spine does not completely close (Spina Bifida Assoc. 2015).

Spina bifida is a permanently disabling birth defect and can occur anywhere along the spine. It has 3 form variations in severity, which depends on location, size, nerve and spinal cord damage. The less severe, spina bifida occulta or “Hidden Spina Bifida”; the most severe, Myelomeningocele or “Open Spina bifida”; the most rare, meningocele. Spina bifida Occulta can also be called the Hidden Spina Bifida because about 15% of healthy people are not aware of having it. It usually causes no harm or impediment, and most people find out when they get an x-ray of their back for unrelated reasons. It could result in small gaps between the vertebrae, but it does not involve the nerves, which its why it
…show more content…
First, the doctor will probably check by performing blood tests, ultrasound or amniocentesis. The most common blood test performed is called Maternal serum alpha-fetoprotein (MSAFP) test, which tests for alpha-fetoprotein (AFP), a protein that's produced by the baby. Abnormally high levels of AFP is an indication that there could be a neural tube defect. If high levels of AFP are found, then the doctor will have the mother get an ultrasound. These images will help determine whether the baby has developed spina bifida, its severity and location. If the ultrasound does not show any sign of spina bifida, but the AFP levels are still high, then the doctor might also offer amniocentesis. Amniocentesis is when a small sample of fluid is taken out, with a needle, to better determine if the baby has Spina Bifida or not (Mayo Clinic 2014). Since spina bifida varies in severity and size, there are different treatments for each individual. Surgery within 24-48 hours after birth is common. With surgery, the doctor tucks in all of the exposed tissue under the muscle to prevent infections and other complications. Another option could be prenatal surgery, where the doctor goes into the mother’s uterus and fixes the babies spinal cord (Mayo Clinic

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