Northern Ohio – October is National Spina Bifida Awareness Month, a time to educate the public and further understanding about Spina Bifida while celebrating the lives of the more than 166,000 Americans affected. Every day in the United States, an average of 8 births are affected by Spina Bifida or a similar birth defect of the brain and spine. It remains the most commonly occurring, complex birth defect in this country.
Spina Bifida, an incomplete closure of the spinal column that occurs in the first month of pregnancy, is the most frequently occurring, permanently disabling birth defect in the United States. In Ohio, there are approximately two million women of child-bearing age at risk for having a child with Spina Bifida and/or a neural tube defect. Women who take 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid every day before pregnancy may reduce their risk for Spina Bifida by up to 70%. Hispanic women have 1.5 to 2 times great risk of having a child with a neural tube defect than non-Hispanic Whites.
While taking folic acid reduces the risk for having a child with Spina Bifida, the root cause is unknown and the effects for each person are different. Some conditions associated with Spina Bifida include:
·Hydrocephalus (up to 90%)
·Bowel and/or bladder incontinence
·Lack of sensation in legs
While having Spina Bifida presents unique challenges, those affected by Spina Bifida attend school, work, raise a family, and spend time with friends just like everyone else.
The Spina Bifida Association of Northwest Ohio’s mission is to promote the prevention of Spina Bifida and to enhance the lives of all affected. The Association is an affiliated chapter with the National Spina Bifida Association. Our programs include providing:
·Educational grants to families to attend the National Spina Bifida Conference
·Aid in purchasing Medical Equipment and Supplies
·Developmental information about their child’s growth
·Newborn packets to hospitals
·A Lending Closet of equipment and supplies
·Educating about the importance of folic acid before pregnancy
“Our chapter is committed to helping the families affected by Spina Bifida. We also know that the more we educate about the importance of folic acid before pregnancy, the more likely we are to have a child born without Spina Bifida,” explains Mindy Gallant, Chair.
For more information about the Spina Bifida Association of Northwest Ohio, please contact Jennifer O’Brien, SBANWO, 302 Conant St., Suite C, Maumee, OH 43537, 419-794-0561, www.sbanwo.org, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.