Birth defects

What you need to know about neural tube defects

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 120,000 babies (1 in 33) in the United States are born each year with birth defects1. Some of the most common birth defects are neural tube defects or NTDs. Each year, approximately 2,500-3,000 babies are born with an NTD, and 1,500 are stillborn or terminated because of these birth defects. According to the CDC, there are approximately 180,000 Americans currently living with spina bifida. Check out the topics below to find out what you need to know about these serious birth defects and how you can help prevent them.



  1. Update on overall prevalence of major birth defects—Atlanta, Georgia, 1978-2005.MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2008;57:1-5.

  2. Ouyang, L., Grosse, S.D., Armour, B.S., & Waitzman, N.J. (2007). Health care expenditures of children and adults with spina bifida in a privately insured U.S. population. Birth Defects Research (Part A), 79, 552-8.

  3. Ibid.

  4. Grosse, S. 2007, unpublished.

Revised: June 6, 2011

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