LOS ANGELES (AP) - A government study found that children with a spine defect do better when the problem is fixed while they're still in the womb.
Children with spina bifida usually have surgery to fix a hole in their spine a few days after they're born.
But the study showed that those who had surgery in the womb were more likely to walk without help and less likely to need a tube to drain fluid buildup in the brain.
There were risks with the fetal surgery though, including being born premature.
Spina bifida happens when the spine doesn't close properly.
There are about 1,500 cases a year in the U.S. The number has
dropped since the government ordered certain foods like cereals to
be fortified with folic acid, which reduces the risk of the spinal defect.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)