antenatal screening programme

Neural tube defect

Neural tube defects (spina bifida) are a developmental anomaly which occurs very early in pregnancy. The neural tube develops to form the spinal cord, brain and spine. When spina bifida occurs, the tube is split and one or more vertebrae (small bones of the back) fail to form properly, leaving a gap.

Read more about spina bifida on the NHS website.

UK NSC screening recommendation Based on the last UK NSC review of this condition that occurred in July 2006.

Screening for this condition is recommended.

Screening for neural tube defects (spina bifida) should be offered as part of the 18-20 week fetal anomaly scan.

Supporting documents from the 2006 review

Screening around the UK

The UK NSC recommends screening for this condition, however this may vary slightly depending on where you are in the UK.

Review cycle

Date previous review completed: 2006

Next review estimated to be completed: 2021 to 2022.

To see previous evidence reviews, visit the UK NSC archive.

Organisations interested in Neural tube defect

These organisations have expressed interest in this recommendation and may submit responses to evidence reviews.

List of organisations

If you think your organisation should be added, please contact us.