Pregnancy in spina bifida patients: a comparative analysis of peripartum procedures and complications

Bao Y. Sciscent, Debarati Bhanja, Lekhaj C. Daggubati, Casey Ryan, David R. Hallan, Elias B. Rizk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Purpose: Spina bifida (SB) is caused by a failure in neural tube closure that can present with lower extremity sensory deficits, paralysis, and hydrocephalus. Medical advances have allowed increased pregnancies among SB patients, but management and pregnancy-associated complications have not been thoroughly investigated. The objective is to delineate peripartum procedures and complications in patients with SB. Methods: A national de-identified database, TriNetX, was retrospectively queried to evaluate pregnant SB patients and the general population. Procedures and complications were investigated using corresponding ICD-10 and CPT codes within 1 year of pregnancy diagnosis. Results: 11,405 SB patients were identified and compared to 9,269,084 non-SB patients. SB patients were significantly more likely to undergo cesarean delivery (1.200; 95% CI [1.133–1.271]) and less likely to receive neuraxial analgesia (0.406; 95% CI [0.383–0.431]). Additionally, patients with SB had an increased risk of seizures (3.922; 95% CI [3.529–4.360]) and venous thromboembolism (VTE) (3.490; 95% CI [3.070–3.969]). Risks of preeclampsia and hemorrhage were comparable. SB patients with hydrocephalus and Chiari malformation type 1 (CM-1) or type 2 (CM-2) were compared to patients without these comorbid conditions. This sub-group analysis showed a significantly increased risk of having cesarean deliveries (SB with hydrocephalus: 12.55%, S.B. with CM-1 or CM-2: 12.81% vs. SB without hydrocephalus or CM, 6.16%) and VTE (3.74%, 2.43% vs. 0.81%). There were also increased risks of hemorrhage and seizures and decreased use of neuraxial analgesia, but the sample size was insufficient. Conclusion: SB patients were more likely to undergo cesarean section and exhibit peripartum complications compared to those without SB.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalChild's Nervous System
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Clinical Neurology


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