Indicator Report - Birth Defects: Neural Tube Defects
Why Is This Important?Most neural tube defects have severe consequences for the affected pregnancy or child. Many affected pregnancies are lost before birth. Babies with anencephaly usually die within days from birth. Babies with spina bifida are at much increased risk of illness, long term disability, and premature death. These children often need lifelong health and rehabilitation services to improve outcomes and reduce complications.
Since 1992, studies have shown conclusively that taking a daily supplement containing 0.4 milligrams of folic acid, a B-vitamin, before conception can decrease substantially the risk of a pregnancy being affected by a neural tube defect and increase the odds that the baby is born healthy. Promoting folic acid awareness and use of a multivitamin with folic acid can have a major impact on improving the health of babies and children in Utah (see information on folic acid at http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/folicacid/index.html).
Tracking neural tube defect occurrence is crucial in planning, carrying out, and assessing folic acid programs to reduce preventable cases. Tracking is also critical for those planning for the care of affected children.
Data SourcesUtah Birth Defect Network.
DefinitionNumber of cases of neural tube defects per 10,000 births. Neural tube defects include spina bifida, anencephaly, and encephalocele.
How We Calculated the Rates
Page Content Updated On 09/10/2010, Published on 09/13/2010