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What causes spina bifida?

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Spina bifida is a relatively common birth defect in the U.S. It prevents the backbone that protects your baby’s spine from fully forming during pregnancy. That can lead to physical and mental problems.

It’s not clear what causes spina bifida. Scientists think it may be a combination of the environment and family history, or a lack of folic acid (a type of vitamin B) in the mother's body.

But we do know that the condition is more common among white and Hispanic babies and in girls. Also, women who have diabetes that isn’t managed well or who are obese may be more likely to have a child with the condition.

From: What Is Spina Bifida? WebMD Medical Reference

SOURCES:

Spina Bifida Association: "What is Spina Bifida?"

National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Stroke: "Spina Bifida Fact Sheet."

Mayo Clinic: "Spina Bifida."

CDC: "Spina Bifida."

Reviewed by Dan Brennan on June 25, 2019

SOURCES:

Spina Bifida Association: "What is Spina Bifida?"

National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Stroke: "Spina Bifida Fact Sheet."

Mayo Clinic: "Spina Bifida."

CDC: "Spina Bifida."

Reviewed by Dan Brennan on June 25, 2019

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What tests can check for spina bifida?

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