Neural Tube Defects
The term congenital anomaly refers to any physiological or structural abnormality that is present at the time of birth. More than 3,000 congenital anomalies have been identified, such as neural tube defects, heart and circulatory system defects, cleft palate or lip, and Down Syndrome. These data come from the Canadian Congenital Anomalies Surveillance System.
Neural tube defects (NTD) are birth defects of the brain and spinal cord. These conditions can be prevented with folic acid supplementation prior to and during pregnancy. In 1998, fortification of a variety of cereal products with folic acid became mandatory in Canada, which resulted in further reductions in the rate of neural tube defects across the country.
For more information on folic acid use during pregnancy in Simcoe Muskoka, please see the HealthSTATS page on folic acid supplementation. For more information on pregnancy and health, please visit the health unit’s website on health before pregnancy.
Overall Congenital Anomalies Rate
The overall congenital anomalies
(CA) rates for Simcoe Muskoka and Ontario have remained relatively stable. In 2011, the CA rate was 505/10,000 births (502.8, 506.7
) in Ontario and 577/10,000 births (511.1, 649.4
) in Simcoe Muskoka.
Neural Tube Defect Rate
The rate of neural tube defects in Ontario has decreased significantly from 1978 to 2011. In Simcoe Muskoka, on average fewer than 5 babies are born with a NTD each year.