- Develops during pregnancy and is present at birth
- Neural tube defect
- Tube of bone that normally protects the spinal cord has not formed properly leaving the spinal cord fully exposed to damage
- There are several forms of Spina Bifida
- Meningocele (mild form of Spina Bifida) - the spinal cord lies in a groove at the back of the spine and there is a bulge in the skin of the lower back. This is caused by excess cerebrospinal fluid in the meninges.
- Myelocele (severe form of Spina Bifida) - swelling in the lower back which is often exposed raw tissue. The spinal cord is at or just below the surface of the skin so is vulnerable to damage.
Test Used To Test For Spina Bifida
- The AFP Test
- Measures the level of a protein in the mothers blood
- Test is usually done 16 weeks into pregnancy
- A sample of blood is taken in the usual way from the mothers arm. High levels of AFP would indicate the possibility of neural tube defect.
- This can be confirmed by amniocentesis which will measure the…