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Symptoms of Spina Bifida

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.