5 Common Spina Bfida Myths

When people mention spina bifida there are several things that come to mind, unfortunately, many of them are simply not true. Some of the myths and the realty include:

Infants born with spina bifida do not survive long or are stillborn.

There is less than a five percent chance that an infant born with spina bifida and no other health problems will be stillborn. Additionally, treatment for spina bifida has improved greatly reducing the number of deaths in young children due to the treatments. During the years 1984 and 1988, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, over 88 percent of infants born with spina bifida survived the first year. Between 1989 and 1994 that survival rate increased to over 90 percent.

Spina bifida claims patients at young age

As treatment for spina bifida continues to improve, patients with the ailment are reported to be surviving longer. This makes it difficult to determine their expected survival rate but those born with spina bifida between 1975 and 1979 were studied as recently as 2001 and had survived to ages between 20 and 25.

Children with spina bifida are always retarded

Studies have shown this to be another myth. The IQ of spina bifida patients is close to the norm for other children of the same age, with the average IQ of spina bifida patients being between 80 and 85. Close to 90 percent have an IQ over 80. Remember, these are averages with some having IQ scores higher and others lower.

A spina bifida defect covered by a sac indicates a worse prognosis for the infant.

This is a common misconception as it makes no difference if the defect is covered by a sac or not. The amount of paralysis an affected infant will suffer is determined on the location of the defect on the spine. A defect located above the waist will have a paralyzing effect on more of the body than those that are lower than the waist.

Lemon sign indicates baby will have lemon-shaped head

While there is no known reason for an infant in its first or second trimester to show up on ultrasound as having a head the shape of a lemon, the reality is the head typically becomes more rounded during the third trimester. Infants who have been shown to have a lemon shaped head during prenatal ultrasound born with spina bifida usually do not have a point at the top of their head or on the front.

Video on dispelling the myths of Spina Bifida and how those with SB have overcome their odds


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About the Author: Peter Scott

Peter Scott is a medical writer that specializes in general health and medical research surrounding Spina Bifida and other disabilities. His 15 years of experience has seen his work published in Men's Health, Disability Horizons and New Mobility Magazine. He is currently traveling around the world working as a freelance writer.