If you are a soon-to-be parent or just curious about medical conditions, then perhaps you have heard of spina bifida. Spina bifida is a birth defect that occurs when the spinal cord and its protective covering don’t form properly. As a result, babies with this condition can suffer from various neurological issues such as bowel and bladder problems, paralysis, and learning difficulties.
Fortunately, thanks to modern technology we can detect spina bifida before birth through ultrasound scans. In this article, we will take an in-depth look at how to detect spina bifida baby sonograms without sounding like Sheldon Cooper from The Big Bang Theory.
What Is Spina Bifida?
Unless you’re planning on becoming a biochemist anytime soon,the scientific definition of spina bifida might sound daunting. Nonetheless,it would be useful for us to know what’s going on here:
“SpinalBifidaisagroupofneuralrelatedbirthdefectsit is characterized byincomplete closure of the neural tube during embryonic development”
Phew! That was long okay lets break it down:Does your Neural Tube close properly? If not there is chance that your baby may develop ‘Spinal Bifda;’.Do not stress yourself out yet though,because detecting it early just became easier than knowing whether Marsellus Wallace Looked Like A bitch!
When Can I Detect It Through Ultrasound Scan?
The good news is that nowadays scanning technologies have gotten quite accurate in determining fetal anomalies including ‘’spine hydrops‘’ which detects fluid buildup within the tissues surrounding the brain or spine (sorry if that sounded too serious right now). On Doctors’ tables these problems refer to ‘’openneural-tubedefects’’. Anencephaly(spontaneous abortion)is one they completely suck but on the bright side; Spina bifida falls into this category. Now naturally you would want to detect such defects early on -The earliest that doctors can identify these abnormalities is within 18-20 weeks of pregnancy.
What Are The Different Types Of Spina Bifida?
Sorry for sounding like a know-it-all, but I did keep my promise about enhancing the vocabulary by introducing some technical terms:
1) Occulta: Occulta doesn’t cause any obvious problems and it affects around 15%of people with spina bifida
2)Meningocele: It occurs when one or more vertebrae form abnormally leaving spinal fluid and meninges (the membrane layer surrounding thebrainand spinal cord) protruding through an open vertebral arch resulting in less severe effects.
3)Myelomeningocele: This is what usually comes to mind whenever someone mentions ‘’spina bifida’. Alot of Doctors also find this type most common as it involves neural tissue forming outside the baby’s body .Babies who are born having myelomeningocele often encounter more symptoms compared to other types.These may include a complete paralysis of both legs, urination difficulty,and backsliding issues….
How To Detect Spina Bifidia Baby Ultrasound?
Here we go! We’re finally diving in!
Ultrasound scans may be able to show certain aspects which indicate if your child has spina bifida.So how do they perform these?
1) Alpha-Fetoprotein test(AFTs): AFTs tests measure how much fetoproteins levels via your Amniontic Fluid (Fluid surrounding fetus during Pregnancy). Here’s the trick though: Babies with spinal conditions leak higher amounts of Alpha-fetoprotein(Maternal serum alpha fetoprotein or MSAFP), hence this increases mostly after reaching week 16.Pregnant Women are offered early screening through Serum Integrated Tests which is usually taken between 9 and 14 weeks.The Screening may also be repeated if any red flags were raised.
2) Ultrasound Scans: An Ultrasound of the baby’s spine would typically display it as black circles crossing behind or below its ribs. The Sonographer(Specialist who does the scan;not sunglasses), uses high-frequency sound waves to create a visual image of the unborn baby’s internal organs.
3)Amnioinfusion:This test involves injecting sterile saline(a salt solution) into your uterus to float the amniotic fluid away from where fetus lies.It’s purpose: this technique helps provide more clear ultrasound images of fetal areas that should enable Doctors identify spina bifida defects.Amniocentesis Test can also verify whether Spinal Bifda or another neural tube defect is present in your child.
It is however important when conducting any examination on fetuses,that risks involved are understood because no maternal-fetal treatment comes without risk.However according to ‘’American Pregnancy Association‘’,standard ultrasound scans pose minimal risk(you’re probably already aware you’ll be exposed to plenty Ultrasounds during pregnancy).Should additional methods such as Amniosynthesis be offered,it would be paramount for informed consent prior
How Accurate Are These Methods?
You must be wondering now how can I depend on these tests? Will they give me some solid answers?
Well,most methods have common False negatives making them imperfect.However ,Alpha-Fetoprotein blood exams become fake-positives mainly causing more anxiety than needed.(It detects elevated levels,but carries alot of false positives too!)
An ultrasound test determines A. Whether there’s accumulated fluids surroudingspine tips and/or Brain(Before seeing opening); B.Revealing an open neural-tube defect,C.Giving Doctors insight regarding location,size,and severity of conditions.This yes, Is usually effective at 90% minimum detecting purposes.
Are Any Special Preparations Required For The Tests?
Welp! Sorry to burst your bubble;the test is actually painless(Unless you have a needle phobia). Depending on which option of testingyoupartake,a full bladder might be necessary for the sonogram.Intravenous hydration catheters maybe inserted into the rectum (cringing-eyed emoji).Some women however do consume mild sedatives prior if they normally are anxious duringMedical exams. It’s Very Important that informed consent should always precede invazive examinationsi so it’s up to you whether or not feel comfortable enough.
While spina bifida can be frightening when unease and uncertainties crop up in yourself . Thankfully modern medicine has provided means such as ultrasound technology make early detection possible.Now readers will hopefully sound more educated speaking with their specialists regarding spinal anomalies(don’t worry no one will judge you !).
Always remember that every pregnancy carries its own unique baggages(be it anxiety-related,fears or even just those unpleasant morning sicknesses)when consulted by your doctor don’t let anything mentioned above overwhelm but instead empower you!.
Hey there, I’m Dane Raynor, and I’m all about sharing fascinating knowledge, news, and hot topics. I’m passionate about learning and have a knack for simplifying complex ideas. Let’s explore together!
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