NATIONAL SPINA BIFIDA AWARENESS MONTH
National Spina Bifida Awareness Month shines a spotlight on the most common permanently disabling birth defect in the United States. It develops during fetal development and the spinal column doesn’t completely close. Every day in the United States, eight babies are born with Spina Bifida or a similar birth defect that affects the brain and spine, according to the Spina Bifida Association. There are three different kinds of Spina Bifida: Occult Spinal Dysraphism, Spina Bifida Occulta, and Meningocele. While no cure exists for Spina Bifida, several treatments help manage the impairment and prevent complications.
Since spina bifida develops during pregnancy, knowing the risk factors is important.
- Folate deficiency. Folate or Vitamin B-9 (also called folic acid when in food) is very important to the healthy development of a baby. A deficiency in this increases the risk of Spina Bifida and other neural tube defects.
- Family history of neural tube defects. If you’ve had children with a neural tube defect before, or if someone in your immediate family has the risk increases. However, a majority of babies born with Spina Bifida have no family history of the impairment.
- Certain medications. Many anti-seizure medications that are taken during pregnancy can cause neural tube defects because they interfere with the body’s ability to use folate and folic acid.
- Diabetes and obesity. If either of these exists pre-pregnancy, your child has a higher risk of being born with Spina Bifida.
HOW TO OBSERVE #SpinaBifidaAwarenessMonth
Reach out to someone you know who has Spina Bifida, or has a family member living with it, and see if you can spend the day with them. Talk with them and learn a little bit about what it is like to live with this impairment. They will be grateful that you did! Other ways to participate include:
- Support research with a donation to a Spina Bifida organization like the Spina Bifida Association.
- Learn more about the condition.
- Organize a fundraiser.
- Share your experiences.
Use #SpinaBifidaAwarenessMonth to post on social media.
NATIONAL SPINA BIFIDA AWARENESS MONTH HISTORY
The Spina Bifida Association founded National Spina Bifida Awareness Month. Each year, they create a campaign slogan. In 2016, the slogan was #BeyondAllLimits, and communities were encouraged to participate in activities and workshops that showed that those living with Spina Bifida can still get active and have fun with their communities.