Spina bifida is a neural tube defect that happens in the first month of pregnancy when the spinal column does not close completely. According to the Mayo Clinic, approximately one in every 2,000 children born in the U.S. is diagnosed with spina bifida. Risk factors include the presence of a neural tube defect in a previous child, lack of folic acid, some medications, diabetes and the mother's age. Most patients with spina bifida have neurogenic bladders. Neurogenic bladders function poorly and over time, without correction, can result in kidney damage and ultimately kidney failure.
A UC Davis MIND Institute study of pregnant mice found that high amounts of folic acid during pregnancy harmed the brain development of embryos.