Who is at risk for having a baby with Spina Bifida?
Any woman who is capable of becoming pregnant can have a baby with Spina Bifida. There are approximately 65 million women of childbearing age in the United States. Although people with a first-degree relative (parent, sibling) with Spina Bifida are 5 to 10 times more likely to have Spina Bifida than the greater population, there is no way to tell which women will have babies with Spina Bifida. Ninety-five percent of people with SB have no family history. Many things affect pregnancy, including genes, environment and certain illnesses or drugs. These include:
Prior pregnancy with Spina Bifida (the chance of the next pregnancy being affected is 20-50 times greater)
Family history of SB
Mother with insulin-dependent diabetes
Motherís use of certain anti-seizure drugs
Mother with medically diagnosed obesity
Race and ethnicity. (SB is more common in Caucasians than African-Americans and more common in Hispanics than non-Hispanics.)
Other things may raise the chance of having a baby with Spina Bifida, but they are not as well understood. These things include:
Exposure to high temperatures in early pregnancy, such as prolonged high fevers
Extended hot tub or sauna use
Parental exposure to Agent Orange.
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