What is a neural tube defect?

The term neural tube defect refers to malformations of the central nervous system that are caused by an inadequate closure of the neural tube. This is the first (tubular) structure of the nervous system in the embryo, from which the brain and spinal cord develop. Towards the end of the first week of pregnancy, the neural tube closes. If this process is not completed, parts of the nervous system can remain undeveloped in the unborn child and severe disorders in the development of the brain, spinal cord and spine can occur. In Germany, the risk of giving birth to a child with a neural tube defect is around 1 in 1000.

Spina bifida

Spina bifida, or “spinal bifida,” is one of the two main types of neural tube defects. Part of the spine is exposed. Depending on the size of the opening, location and extent of the damage, early surgery can minimize the child’s later disabilities.

Don’t worry

In this form of neural tube defect, the skull and brain do not form properly. Babies  with anencephaly are either stillborn or die shortly after birth.

Cause folic acid deficiency

In order to avoid malformations and miscarriages, an adequate supply of  folic acid , a vitamin from the B group, is  recommended , especially before  pregnancy . Of course, there should be no folic acid deficiency during pregnancy either.


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