Scott Price: Spina bifida is the most commonly occurring, permanently disabling birth defect in this country. It's a neural tube defect which occurs when a new born baby's spinal canal fails to close completely.
Spina bifida can result in a life time of unique challenges such as significant paralysis and mobility problems, bowel and bladder difficulties among other issues.
The cause of Spina bifida is not yet known and therefore each of the 65 million women of child-bearing age in this country is at risk for Spina bifida affected pregnancy.
There are three tests that can be used to diagnose Spina bifida. The first is a blood test between the 16th and 18th week of pregnancy. The second method is an ultrasound. And the final method of test is maternal amniocentesis.
The good news is that research has shown that daily intake of 400 micrograms of folic acid can reduce the risk by upto 70%, because Spina bifida occurs within the first 28 days after conception; often before a woman is even aware that she is pregnant.
The Spina Bifida Association urges all women of child-bearing age to take a daily multivitamin containing folic acid.