The mission of Spina Bifida Houston Gulf Coast is to promote public awareness and enrich the lives of individuals and families living
with spina bifida.
Spina Bifida is the most common of the neural tube defects and is one of the
most devastating of all birth defects. The National Institutes of Health state
that Spina Bifida will occur in 1 of every 1000 births in the U.S. It occurs
more frequently than Muscular Dystrophy and Multiple Sclerosis combined and
cripples more children than Polio at its peak. It results from the failure of
the spine to close properly during the first month of pregnancy. In severe
cases, the spinal cord protrudes through the back and may be covered by skin or
a thin membrane. Surgery to close a newborn's back is generally performed within
24 hours after birth to minimize the risk of infection and to preserve existing
function in the spinal cord.
Children born with Spina Bifida experience varying degrees of paralysis, loss
of sensation in the lower limbs, difficulties with bowel and bladder,
hydrocephalus, learning disabilities and latex allergies. The challenges brought
about by Spina Bifida continue throughout life. To live independent and
fulfilling lives, people with this birth defect may need extensive medical,
psychological, and educational therapy.