Spina bifida, occurs when an area of the baby’s spinal cord does not form properly, exposing a portion of the spinal cord and nerves, which causes damage and leads to complications. Spina bifida affects approximately 3 out of every 10,000 newborns.
Traditionally, repair of spina bifida takes place after birth. For some, treatment is now available while the baby is still in the womb. We are among the few centers who have the expertise to perform this specialized fetal surgery to close the defect, preventing further damage and improving the future mobility of the baby. The Fetal Care Center is a partnership among Barnes-Jewish Hospital, St. Louis Children’s Hospital and Washington University Physicians, which means you and your baby will be well taken care of by the appropriate specialist before, during and after surgery.
Babies born with spina bifida may have some developmental issues and need ongoing monitoring throughout their lives, particularly in the infant and toddler years. Our Spina Bifida Clinic at St. Louis Children’s Hospital is a long-term follow-up program providing care after birth. The clinic coordinates your baby’s care, bringing together all of the medical specialists he or she might need to see in one place.