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Share The baby that was born twice: they had fetal surgery to correct their spina bifida before birth

Lola Rovati @Lolarovati

With 19 weeks of pregnancy, Joni Reinkemeyer and her husband expected their sex to be revealed, but they also received bad news. On ultrasound he was found to have spina bifida, a congenital malformation that occurs in the first month of embryonic life, in which the neural tube does not close completely, exposing the contents of the spinal column (meninges, spinal cord, nerve roots, etc.).

Being a progressive defect during pregnancy, to avoid paralysis doctors decided to perform a cesarean section to perform a fetal surgery with 25 weeks of gestation . So they corrected Jackson's malformation (that's what they called it), put it back into the uterus and then the pregnancy continued until 35 weeks when the baby was "reborn" .

Photo: Joni Reinkemeyer

In addition to preventing Jackson's injury from getting worse, surgery would give him a better chance to learn to walk. They were also able to reverse their Chairi malformation, a condition that occurs when the brain tissue spreads to the spinal cord and repair it before birth would reduce their need for referral by 50 percent.

The delicate fetal surgery was performed by a team of 32 people at the Barnes Jewish Children's Hospital in St. Louis (Missouri, United States). After the operation, the mother had to remain in strict rest since the intervention increases the risk of prematurity in the baby, so that each day that passed inside the uterus was important.

Photo: Joni Reinkemeyer

Spina bifida on the baby

One in every thousand children is born in Spain with spina bifida, a congenital defect of the neural tube, the part of the embryo from which the brain and the spinal cord are formed (which begins to be formed during the first month of pregnancy ). If there is any type of abnormality during the training process (for example, if it does not close completely) defects can occur in the brain, spinal cord and spinal cord.

There are two anomalies that occur more frequently whenever there is some type of defect in the neural tube: spina bifida and anencephaly (or open spine). Spina bifida most frequently affects the last vertebrae of the spine, exposing the nerves that control the mobility of the legs and the contractility of the bladder and rectum, producing paralysis and incontinence.

Generally, the operation to correct spina bifida takes place a few days after the birth of the baby, but studies have shown that prenatal surgery reduces the risk of developing motor and intellectual disabilities, so more and more interventions are performed before birth. Practiced in a dozen hospitals around the world, this delicate operation seems to give encouraging results, despite the risks involved, including the risk of prematurity of the baby that can be born at any time in the days after the intervention.

The fetal surgery gave Jackson a new opportunity and his parents have taken advantage of it despite the difficulty of the decision. Her baby who was born twice stayed in intensive care for twelve days and was finally able to take it home on New Year's Day.

Remember that taking folic acid before and during pregnancy prevents spina bifida in 70%, and is also effective in preventing anencephaly, cleft lip and is effective in preventing delays in the language of the baby.

Via | CafemomEn Babies and more | How to prevent congenital anomalies, The baby that was born twice: decided the fetal surgery for your baby, saving your life, The fetoscopy is the surgery to the fetus when it is still in the uterus: discover when it is necessary