Diagnosing Spina Bifida

Spina bifida is often detected during the mid-pregnancy anomaly scan, which is offered to all pregnant women between 18 and 21 weeks of pregnancy.

If tests confirm that your baby has spina bifida, the implications will be discussed with you.

This will include a discussion about the possible problems associated with the condition, the treatment and support your child may need if you decide to continue with the pregnancy, and what your options are regarding ending the pregnancy, if that’s your choice.

Tests after birth

Once the baby is born, a number of tests may be carried out to find out how bad the condition is and help decide which treatments are likely to be the best option.

Tests may include:

  • monitoring your child’s head growth and carrying out a brain scan, using an ultrasound scanCT scan or MRI scan, to check for hydrocephalus (excess fluid on the brain)
  • ultrasound scans of the bladder and kidneys to check whether your baby stores their pee normally
  • an assessment of your baby’s movements to check for paralysis

Surgery to repair the spine will usually be recommended soon after your baby is born.

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