(Closed) Baby with Spina Bifida: What Would You Do?

posted 6 years ago in Pregnancy
  • poll: What would you do?
    Terminate. : (109 votes)
    38 %
    Operate now. : (139 votes)
    49 %
    Operate after baby is born. : (36 votes)
    13 %
  • Post # 3
    5544 posts
    Bee Keeper
    • Wedding: December 2011

    It would involve a huge amount of research, but if the outlook is better for surgery sooner, that is what I would do. Prayers for sure!

    Post # 4
    6892 posts
    Busy Beekeeper
    • Wedding: March 2012

    My baby sister has spina bifida and had the surgery when she was an infant. We had not yet adopted her, so I don’t have any details regarding that.

    I personally would either operate now or operate after baby was born. That part I would base on research and medical opinions.

    I did want to share this – my sister has another health issue that is unrelated, but for the most part her spina bifida is not a big deal to her health. She doesn’t have great balance and you can tell something is ‘off’ when she runs, but only if you know what to look for. Otherwise she is happy and healthy. 🙂

    Post # 5
    515 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: September 2012

    Not knowing enough about the prognosis for the operation, I voted “terminate”. If it were my baby, I’d be very sad about it, but unless there was a really good chance the baby would be able to live a normal life and not confined to a wheelchair with stunted, useless legs, I think we would both be in agreement that termination would be best for everyone involved. But if I could be convinced the operation would be successful, then I’d vote for that (at the 20 week mark, not after birth).

    I had a friend in high school with spina bifida and the other kids were just rotten to him (like they would flip his wheelchair over and just leaving him lying helpless in the hallway and stuff like that) and was often resentful that he couldn’t do normal teenage things or live a full life. He was very embarrassed by his condition and suffered from a lot of self-loathing. I guess after seeing how miserable he was, I feel like it would be selfish to force my own child to live that way.


    Post # 6
    1660 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: October 2011

    @Edelweiss:  I don’t know, I don’t think your friend’s experience is really the norm… I used to work at an inpatient/outpatient rehabilitation hospital for kids with disabilities and I actually ran a research study for children & adolescents with spina bifida (looking at behavioral treatments for continence issues). The range of disability caused by SB is huge… some people have it and you’d never know it… others have it and need back or leg braces… some need wheelchairs (fairly rare). Most (actually, I’m pretty sure ALL) of the children/adolecents with whom I worked were happy and had very full lives despite their disability. SB can cause problems with mobility, continence, and some cognitive deficits (again, ranging from really subtle to more serious – but in specific areas, not global deficits), but I think a lot depends on the severity, home environment, amount of therapy/intervention/supports, etc. Lots of adolescents suffer from depression, self-loathing, and bullying without any kind of physical disability… it sounds like your friend had a hard time coping with his illness, but I’m just trying to point out that adolescents can have a hard time coping with all kinds of things… having a physical limitation/disability DOES NOT guarantee unhappiness, by any means.

    OP – I will keep your SIL in my prayers. Let me know if you have any specific questions… I know some of the country’s best SB docs!

    Post # 7
    11418 posts
    Sugar Beekeeper
    • Wedding: May 2009

    I would choose the option to operate either now or after the baby is born, depending on the information I had regarding the risks and benefits of each of those choices.

    Post # 8
    4162 posts
    Honey bee
    • Wedding: October 2011

    Termination would not be an option for me, whatsoever.  

    If the operation now or at 20 weeks was going to give the baby a better chance of developing more healthy, I would 100% try that.  

    OP, if that surgery doesn’t work, do you know if there are more surgeries to try after birth?

    Post # 9
    28 posts
    • Wedding: September 2012

    My daughter was born with a tethered spinal wich is a mild form of spina bifida.  Prior to her birth we had not known anything was amiss.  In fact, the only way the doctors were alerted to her condition was after immediate testing when they noticed a hemangioma at the base of her spine upon birth.  At 6 months old she had spinal corrective surgery and im happy to say that other than a little scar you would never know she was ever in danger of having any issue.

    I’ve done alot of research but i cant say that im an expert especially in this case where it seems so much severe, but what i can say is that i have read so much about the wonderful advancements in technology with in womb surgey for this problem.  if the issue can be corrected in development there s so much of a better chance for success however it would completely depend on how severe the issue is.  


    If the doctors believe that they will be successful, i would go through with it if it were me.  

    Post # 10
    334 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: February 2013

    Though I am 100% pro-choice, as an individual with a form of spina bifida, I am really saddened by the votes to terminate the pregnancy. There are a range of impairments that may come from a spina bifida diagnosis (some quite minimal), and unfortunately some doctors are inclined to encourage termination without giving the parents a very clear picture of the types of spina bifida and what the diagnosis may mean for their child.

    I would encourage her to get as much education as possible before making a decision and to visit http://spinabifidaconnection.com/forumdisplay.php?f=5  online. There is a section on Spina Bifida Connection for new parents, and several threads started by parents who just found out their child has spina bifida and would like support from other parents and adults who have the diagnosis. While she ultimately will need to decide the best course of action for her and her boyfriend, there are places she can go for other parents who have faced similar situations.

    Post # 11
    1310 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: December 2011

    I would base the decision on when to operate, on what the doctors suggest. You really have to be guided by the experts in this.

    Personally I feel that terminating a pregnancy SOLELY due to the potential or actual disability of the child is a manifestation of deeply-held, bigoted beliefs about disabled people, their capablities and the value of their lives. What exactly is a “full” life and why should I get to define it for someone else? Most people who interact with disabled people on a regular basis realize that even people with serious disabilities are just regular human beings exactly like themselves. We all have challenges and limitations, some are more “physical” than others.

    There are a lot of blogs by parents of children with spina bifida. Maybe look some up and provide her with a list? I am sure the spina bifida community would be able to provide more insight about what treatments are most effective, when.

    Post # 12
    1408 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: June 2013

    Working in a large childrens hospital in an intensive care unit, I would vote for termination if it were my child. Even though I understand the severity of SB can vary greatly (I care for kids with SB often), it is still not a life I’d want for my child.
    Since termination is not a choice for this mother, I’d recommend obtaining a 2nd opinion in this situation. Working with physicians everyday, I’ve learned that not ALL physicians are created equal. Some are amazing, some are not. I’d get a 2nd opinion and go with the physician who specializes in SB or has the highest success rate. I’d also make sure that this procedure was done in a large fetal care center to ensure the best care.

    Post # 13
    11390 posts
    Sugar Beekeeper
    • Wedding: December 2010

    It would depend on lots of research & which would be safer – A. Surgery at 20 weeks+ or B. Surgery after birth.

    Which ever seemed safer for baby is what I would do after asking for several opinions from different doctors, researching, ect.

    Also OP prayers are being sent!

    Post # 14
    9824 posts
    Buzzing Beekeeper

    I’d seek out the best doctor for immediate operation and do whatever it took to save my baby.

    Hank Williams had spina bifida.

    Post # 15
    6892 posts
    Busy Beekeeper
    • Wedding: March 2012

    @Magdalena:  I agree. As someone who works with disabled children and as someone who has the happiest person on Earth for a sister (I am not exaggerating) I just…it makes me really sad. She was put up for adoption by her bio parents because of her disability. They had no idea that the little girl they gave up has little to no side effects of her “disability.” Lucky for us I guess! I just can’t imagine the world without her in it. She brightens the day of anyone she meets. I’m not trying to get soap-box-ranty, but…I’ve never had such a reaction to a poll before. It makes me sad.

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