Pediatric Open Neural Tube Defects (ONTDs)

ONTDs or Open neural tube defects are problems in which the brain, spinal cord, or spine forms while a baby is growing in the mother’s uterus occurring in about 1 in every 1,500 newborn babies yearly.

What is Pediatric Open Neural Tube Defects (ONTDs)?

While mom is pregnant, the child's brain and spine begin as a flat plate of cells that rolls into a tube called the neural tube. This process is completely formed within 28-32 days after conception. If any part of the neural does not close it it considered an open neural tube defect.  The opening can be left exposed or covered with skin or bone. 

Risk factors

  • Age of mother (more common in teen mothers)
  • Birth order (first-borns are at higher risk)
  • History or miscarriage
  • Poor diet (mother)
  • Socioeconomic status 

What are the different types of Pediatric Open Neural Tube Defects (ONTDs)?


What are the signs and symptoms of Pediatric Open Neural Tube Defects (ONTDs)?

Symptoms depend on they type of ONTD.



  • Bulging sac (back of skull)
  • Facial defects
  • Hydrocephaly
  • Seizures
  • Small head
  • Vision problems
  • Weakness (arms or legs)

Spina bifida

How is Pediatric Open Neural Tube Defects (ONTDs) treated?