Can A Baby Develop Spina Bifida At 21 Weeks?

Baby With Spina BifidaSource:

Pregnancy can be an exciting and nerve-wracking time, especially for first-time parents. There are a lot of things to consider and worry about, from eating the right foods to staying healthy throughout the pregnancy. One concern that some parents may have is whether their baby can develop spina bifida at 21 weeks.

What is Spina Bifida?

Spina bifida is a birth defect that affects the spinal cord and the bones surrounding it. In babies with spina bifida, the neural tube (which forms the spinal cord) does not close properly during development. This can lead to a range of problems, including paralysis, bladder and bowel problems, and learning difficulties.

When Does Spina Bifida Develop?

Spina bifida typically develops in the first 28 days after conception, before most women even realize they are pregnant. However, in rare cases, spina bifida can develop later in pregnancy. In these cases, the defect may not be as severe as when it develops earlier in pregnancy.

Can A Baby Develop Spina Bifida At 21 Weeks?

While it is rare for spina bifida to develop after the first trimester, it is still possible. However, the risk of spina bifida decreases significantly as pregnancy progresses. At 21 weeks, the risk of spina bifida is very low, but it is not impossible. It is important to talk to your doctor if you have any concerns about the development of your baby.

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How Can Spina Bifida Be Detected?

There are several tests that can be done to detect spina bifida in a developing fetus. The most common test is the alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) test, which measures the levels of a protein produced by the fetus. High levels of AFP can indicate a neural tube defect, including spina bifida. Other tests, such as ultrasound and amniocentesis, can also be used to detect spina bifida.

Can Spina Bifida Be Treated?

While there is no cure for spina bifida, there are treatments available that can help manage the symptoms. Surgery can be done to close the opening in the spinal cord and prevent further damage. Physical therapy can also help with muscle strength and mobility. In some cases, medications may be prescribed to help manage bladder and bowel problems.


While it is rare for a baby to develop spina bifida at 21 weeks, it is still important to be aware of the risks and to talk to your doctor if you have any concerns. There are tests available to detect spina bifida, and treatments available to manage the symptoms. With proper care and attention, many children with spina bifida can lead happy, healthy lives.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Is spina bifida a genetic disorder?

A: While there is a genetic component to spina bifida, it is not strictly a genetic disorder. Environmental factors can also play a role in the development of the condition.

Q: Can spina bifida be prevented?

A: While there is no guaranteed way to prevent spina bifida, taking folic acid supplements before and during pregnancy can significantly reduce the risk of neural tube defects.

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Q: Can spina bifida be fatal?

A: In severe cases, spina bifida can be life-threatening. However, with proper treatment and care, many children with spina bifida are able to live long and healthy lives.

Q: Is spina bifida more common in certain populations?

A: Spina bifida is more common in certain populations, including people of Hispanic or African American descent, as well as people who have a family history of the condition.

Q: What kind of long-term effects can spina bifida have?

A: The long-term effects of spina bifida can vary depending on the severity of the condition. Some children may have mobility issues, while others may experience learning difficulties or bladder and bowel problems. With proper treatment and care, many children with spina bifida are able to overcome these challenges and live fulfilling lives.

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I am a child development specialist with a strong passion for helping parents navigate the exciting and sometimes challenging journey of raising a child. Through my website, I aim to provide parents with practical advice and reliable information on topics such as infant sleep, feeding, cognitive and physical development, and much more. As a mother of two young children myself, I understand the joys and struggles of parenting and am committed to supporting other parents on their journey.

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