Bethan Simpson received the devastating news at 20 weeks into her pregnancy that her baby had Spina Bifida, a neural condition causing incomplete development of the spine, which can lead to degrees of paralysis and or brain damage.
Determined not to terminate her pregnancy, having already felt flutters from her unborn baby Eloise, the couple decided to undergo pioneering spinal surgery to correct the split in Eloise's spine.
The 4 hour surgery, which took place yesterday involved opening Bethan's womb and turning the baby in order to repair the gap in the lower part of the spine.
Bethan is the 4th mother in the UK to have undergone this pioneering surgery. Predominantly these procedures take place in Belgium and the US. As of April 2019, this surgical procedure will become available on the NHS.
There are 200 babies born with Spina Bifida in the UK every year and it occurs in about 4 out of 10,000 pregnancies.
The surgery is not a cure for Spina Bifida as there are varying degrees of the condition and this procedure will not necessarily be successful in all cases. However, it will be another option for parents, who, until now, have had to accept the diagnosis or terminate the pregnancy.
The exact cause of Spina Bifida is unknown but it is suggested for mothers to take Folic Acid in the first trimester of pregnancy, when the spinal development of the foetus is most active, and if possible, to take folic acid in the lead up to becoming pregnant.
Folic acid is a water soluble B-Vitamin which helps to build healthy cells and therefore reduces the risk of Spina Bifida in early foetal development.
Little Eloise is due in April and we wish them all the best for a safe and healthy delivery.