The following are the most common symptoms of spina bifida. However, each baby may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:
- abnormal appearance of the baby's back, varying from a small, hairy patch or a dimple or birthmark, to a sac-like protrusion that is found along the back bone area.
- bowel and bladder problems (i.e., constipation, incontinence)
- loss of feeling below the area of the lesion, especially in babies born with a meningocele or myelomeningocele
- inability to move the lower legs (paralysis)
The baby may also have other problems related to spina bifida that include the following:
- hydrocephalus (increased fluid and pressure in the head area; occurs in about 80 to 90 percent of cases)
- heart problems
- orthopaedic (bone) problems
- lower than normal intelligence level
The symptoms of spina bifida may resemble other conditions or medical problems. Always consult your baby's physician for a diagnosis.