Spina bifida is a condition that affects the spine and is usually apparent at birth. It is a type of Neural Tube Defect (NTD). Spina bifida can happen anywhere along the spine if the neural tube does not close all the way. When the neural tube doesn’t close all the way, the backbone that protects the spinal cord doesn’t form and close as it should. This often results in damage to the spinal cord and nerves. Spina bifida might cause physical and intellectual disabilities that range from mild to severe. The severity depends on: The size and location of the opening in the spine and whether part of the spinal cord and nerves are affected.