Spina bifida is a defect that affects the spinal column and in rare cases, the spinal cord. The defect starts in the womb when the tissues that should form a tube don't stay closed or aren't closed at all. As a result, the vertebrae that protect the spinal cord are open. The defect appears twenty to thirty days after conception when many women don't even know that they are pregnant.
Before antibiotics were invented, children born with this defect died after birth. Those who managed to survive were disabled. Nowadays, almost all children with spina bifida survive and can live productive lives. They are independent and can perform daily activities without help. But even modern treatment can't prevent partial paralysis. Some children also have problems with bladder and bowel function.
The outlook of the defect has changed a lot in the last decade. Advanced surgical methods significantly improved the quality of life for children born with spina bifida, and it is also possible to correct the defect while the infant is in the womb.