Interesting Facts About Spina Bifida

This is one of my Special Education Blog’s. I wanted to know more about Spina Bifida as I have 2 friends that have it. At Centra Cam I put together a poster to share the things I learned with everyone there. I thought I could take that information and do a blog as well. So here you go!

What is Spina Bifida?

Spina Bifida is a birth defect that  occurs when the spine and spinal cord don’t form properly.  This can cause an opening in the spine and back. There are different levels that this could affect a person in their life. Spina Bifida happens when the baby is in the mommy’s stomach. This happens within the first four weeks of pregnancy. About 120 children are born with spina bifida every year in Canada.

You can’t catch it from someone else.

Problems that occur with Spina Bifida:

  • Fluid builds up around the brain and then requires a shunt to drain the extra fluid
  • Paralysis, depending on the location of the opening (the higher on the spine, the more severe the paralysis.)
  • Bowel and bladder control problems
  • Poor hand-eye coordination which can make things like handwriting hard to do
  • Learning problems or difficulty remembering things.
  1. People with Spina Bifida may use splints, casts, leg braces, canes, crutches, walkers or wheelchairs .
  2. They might have a lot of medical appointments or surgeries .
  3. They might need to use the bathroom a lot.
  4. They might have allergies.

Parents may be able to find out if their baby has Spina Bifida while the baby is still in the womb using a blood test or an ultrasound. Sometimes parents don’t know until the baby is born.

Treatment for Spina Bifida depends on the person and how severe it is. Some treatments might be visiting a brain doctor. They might need surgery, physio therapy or medicine.



It is important for women to go and see their doctor when they find out they are pregnant to learn how to keep their baby as healthy as possible. Folic Acid is good for preventing Spina Bifida. Women trying to conceive a baby should be taking prenatal vitamins and they have the right amount of Folic Acid in them.


Some famous people you might know were born with Spina Bifida.

John Cougar Mellencamp – He is a famous musician who sings popular songs like Jack and Diane, Small Town and Hurts So Good. John was born with Spina Bifida and is now the spokesman for Winnipeg chapter of The Spina Bifida Association of Canada.


Hank Williams: Was one of the most famous country music artists of all time. He was born with Spina Bifida which caused him pain especially when he was travelling and very excited to be on tour. His most famous song was, “Hey Good Looking.”


Jean Driscoll is a champion wheelchair racer who won several medals on team USA and Wheelchair section of the Boston Marathon. Jean never gave up. She wanted to be like her friends and didn’t let Spina Bifida hold her back.


I hoped this blog helped you understand more about Spina Bifida as it changed my outlook on life. Reading these stories about famous people living with Spina Bifida was encouraging. Jean Driscoll made me think of myself because I want to be just like everyone else and I don’t want my cerebral palsy to hold me back!

I think my next special blog will be on Cerebral Palsy. Do you have any topics you would like me to research and post on my blog?


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