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Causes of Spina Bifida

While no one knows the exact causes of spina bifida, researchers believe that certain factors may play a role in the development of the disorder. For example, spina bifida is more common in newborns of teenage mothers, as well as newborns of mothers who had low levels of folic acid during pregnancy.

What Are the Causes of Spina Bifida?

The exact cause of spina bifida is unknown. No one knows what disrupts complete closure of the neural tube, causing a malformation to develop.
Scientists suspect that genetic, nutritional, and environmental factors may play a role in causing spina bifida. Research studies indicate that insufficient intake of folic acid in the mother's diet is a key factor in causing spina bifida and other neural tube defects. Prenatal vitamins that are prescribed for pregnant mothers typically contain folic acid as well as other vitamins.

Knowing the Risk Factors

Although doctors and research scientists are uncertain about the specific spina bifida cause, they have identified a few risk factors. A risk factor is anything that increases a person's chance of developing a disease. While spina bifida risk factors do not cause spina bifida, they may act together to increase the risk of developing the condition.
Specific risk factors for spina bifida include:
Mother's Age
Spina bifida is more commonly seen in newborns of teenage mothers.
History of Miscarriage
Birth Order
First born infants are at higher risk of spina bifida.
Socioeconomic Status
People of lower socioeconomic status appear to be at higher risk of having children with spina bifida. The reason may be due to poor nutrition and lack of essential vitamins and minerals.
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Spina Bifida Information

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