Neural tube defects, the most common of which is spina bifida, are a group of major congenital anomalies that result from very early disruption in the development of the brain and spinal cord. There is strong evidence of substantial reductions in NTD-affected pregnancies among women who consume folic acid around the time of conception.
Neural tube defects in Australia: prevalence before mandatory folic acid fortification describes the prevalence and trends of neural tube defects (NTD) in Australia during the past decade. Characteristics and outcomes of the births and pregnancy characteristics of mothers are presented for the period 1999-2008. The purpose of compiling this national report is to provide baseline prevalence of NTD, before implementation of mandatory folic acid fortification of bread flour in September 2009.