Diagnosing spina bifida 

Most cases of spina bifida are detected during an ultrasound scan carried out in mid-pregnancy.

Screening in pregnancy

All pregnant women are offered a mid-pregnancy scan. This is usually carried out when you are between 18 and 21 weeks pregnant. The scan, also known as the anomaly scan, checks for physical abnormalities in the baby, including spina bifida.

If tests confirm that your baby has spina bifida, the implications will be discussed with you. This will include a discussion about the possible problems associated with the condition, the treatment and support your child may need if you decide to continue with the pregnancy, and what your options are regarding ending the pregnancy if you choose to.

Tests after birth

After giving birth to a baby with spina bifida, a number of tests may be carried out to assess the severity of the condition and help to decide which treatments are appropriate.

This may include:

In most cases, surgery to repair the spine will be recommended soon after your baby is born. Read more about treating spina bifida.

Page last reviewed: 26/02/2015

Next review due: 26/02/2017