Spina bifida occurs early in embryo development often before a woman even knows she is pregnant. Spina bifida is commonly diagnosed prenatally by ultrasound screening, and the spina bifida clinic team works closely with the Yale Maternal-Fetal Medicine clinic in prenatal consultation. Infants with spina bifida are usually delivered by cesarean section at a medical center such as Yale-New Haven Children’s Hospital equipped with a neonatal intensive care unit and staffed by a specialized neurosurgical team to repair the opening shortly after birth.
Doctors in the Spina Bifida program work with a team of neurosurgeons, orthopaedists, urologists, physical therapists, nurses, dietitians, and social workers to provide long-term support to children with spina bifida and their families. Children with neural tube defects have varying degrees of central nervous system problems as well as difficulties with bladder and bowel control and lower limb movement. A coordinated care plan is developed by our multidisciplinary spina bifida clinic team.