Spina Bifida and Folic Acid | Episode 044

Episode summary introduction:

Spina bifida is a condition that affects the spine and is usually apparent at birth. It is a type of neural tube defect (NTD). Spina bifida can affect anywhere along the spine if the neural tube does not close all the way, causing the backbone that protects the spinal cord to form and close. The results is damage to the spinal cord and nerves. Spina bifida can cause physical and intellectual disabilities, ranging from mild to severe. The severity depends on the size and location of the opening in the spine and/or if part of the spinal cord and nerves are affected.

Topic 1: Types of Spina Bifida

  • Occulta

  • Meningocele

  • Myelomeningocele

Topic 2: Treatment

  • Prenatal

  • Fetal Surgery

  • Infant Surgery

  • Follow-up

Topic 3:

  • Nursing considerations for pregnancy, newborns and patients



Folic acid, taken in supplement form starting at least one month before conception and continuing through the first trimester of pregnancy, greatly reduces the risk of spina bifida and other neural tube defects.

  • Experts recommend that all women of childbearing age take a daily supplement of 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid.

  • Several foods are fortified with 400 mcg of folic acid per serving, including:

  • Enriched bread

  • Pasta

  • Rice

  • Some breakfast cereals

Folic acid can be listed on food packages as folate (the natural form of folic acid.

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Spina Bifida:




Folic Acid:




Tx options:


Nursing Considerations:


Call to action:

Local Resources:

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