Is Spina Bifida Hereditary?

I have spina bifida. If I had a child, would my child have an increased chance of also having the defect? With the problems of the defect, how risky would the pregnancy be?

For those who may not be familiar with this disease, spina bifida (SB) is a birth defect involving the spine. During pregnancy, one or more of the fetal vertebrae do not fully develop, leaving portions of the spine incomplete and unprotected. Spina bifida varies in severity. Fortunately, the mildest form is the most common and sometimes it does not show any symptoms.

Many women with SB can get pregnant, depending on how it affects them. The pregnancies are usually considered high risk, but each woman needs to evaluate her own situation, with the help of healthcare professionals who are experienced with SB. The Spina Bifida Association of America says family history is a factor in only 5 percent of cases. The organization says the chances of a baby having SB are between 1 and 5 percent if one parent has SB and 15 percent if both parents have it.

It is great that you are interested in learning more, but please do not let this be your last stop in your quest for information. This question-and-answer forum is not the ideal place to be discussing such important concerns as pregnancy and risks of passing on the condition. Visit the link below and go to the library, if necessary. As you gather more information, do not try to cope with it and plan for the future alone. Talk with your parents, your doctor, a counselor or join a spina bifida support group.

The information provided on Health Search Online is for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.