What are Neural Tube Defects


The nervous system of a baby begins to form in the first month of development.  It starts off looking like a flat ribbon, and then begins to change and sink down into the back of the embryo (neural groove).

What are Neural Tube Defects/

As it sinks, the sides fold up (neural fold) and over and the edges fuse together to form a tube (the neural tube) which is the embryo’s precursor to the central nervous system, comprising the brain and spinal cord.  Normally, the neural tube is fully closed between 26 and 28 days after the start of pregnancy, but if part of the neural tube does not close, this can lead to a number of different neural tube defects, depending on the location and style of the abnormality.  Each has its own symptoms, presentation, prognosis, and treatment solutions.

What are Neural Tube Defects/As the neural tube closes, the spinal vertebrae (backbones) begin to form around the tube.