Diseases Diseases

Spinal Diseases That Are Present At Birth

Introduction

Being pregnant is usually one of the most joyous times in a female’s life. To know that you are carrying and developing one of the greatest joys in life is a miracle. You might be suffering from some of the pregnancy side effects that can drive you nuts, but in the end, you will have a beautiful and healthy baby to love and raise. This is what women dream of. Sometimes those dreams can go wrong, and you will have a baby that has birth defects. Most of the time, these are not caused by something you did or did not do; they just happen. Some of the birth defects that can occur are spinal diseases.

History

Two of the most common spinal diseases that do occur are spinal stenosis and spina bifida. Spinal stenosis is the narrowing of the spinal cord and can be present from birth. The narrowing of the spinal column can put pressure on the spinal cord. Babies that are born with this spinal disease will have to be carefully monitored. Some of their activities will also need to be monitored. They may not be able to do the same activities that children without it can do. Later in life, they may have to get surgery on their back to help lessen the problem and to take away some of the pain. Another birth defect that babies are born with is spina bifida. Spina bifida is a spinal disease where the spinal column did not properly close all of the way and part of it is sticking out after birth.

Features

There are many different degrees of spina bifida that include occulta, closed neural tube defects, meningocele and myelomengocele. Occulta is the most common of spinal diseases and is the one that causes the least problems. It is usually covered by a thin layer of skin. Most babies born with this have few problems. The second type of spina bifida is closed neural tube defects. The degrees of disability can sometimes affect the urinary and bowel functions of the body. The third type of spina bifida has spinal fluid and meninges protruding through an opening and could be covered by a layer of skin. Some babies have little or no symptoms, and some experience the same type of disabilities as with the closed neural type. The last one, myelomeningocele, is the most severe. It occurs when the spine is exposed through an opening in the spine. This usually causes partial or complete defects in the child’s ability to walk and use the restroom normally.

Tips and comments

Most of the time, spinal disease can be caught before birth through fetal ultrasound. Although, the degree to which the baby has it may not be able to be determined. If your doctor does suspect that your infant has one of the spinal diseases during your pregnancy, he may want to do further testing on you and the baby to see how advanced of a case he is dealing with. While there is no cure, great strides have been made to help treat babies that are born with spinal diseases. Some doctors can even do surgery in utero, and while it cannot fix everything, it can stop it from becoming worse.

By Sally Vigil, published at 02/07/2012
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