Myelomeningocele is the most common type of spina bifida, a condition referring to any birth defect involving an incomplete spinal closure. The cause or causes of are unknown. However, low levels of folic acid in a woman’s body before and during early pregnancy are though to play a role, as folic acid is an important vitamin for brain and spinal cord development.
Some researchers believe a virus may play a role, as children born during early winter months are more likely to have this condition. Others believe environmental factors such as radiation may be risk factors.
If a child is born with myelomeningocele, future children in that family have a greater risk of being born with the condition; however, there is often no family connection to myelomeningocele.