Anencephaly is a serious and rare birth defect which occurs when an embryo's neural tube fails to close during the first month
of pregnancy. As a result, major portions of the brain, skull, and scalp fail to develop. A baby born with anencephaly
may be stillborn or die within a few hours or days after birth.
The cause of anencephaly is unknown, but it is hypothesized that a mother's diet and vitamin intake play a role. Recent studies
have shown that addition of folic acid to the diet of females of childbearing age may significantly reduce the overall incidence
of neural tube defects.
Prevalence of Anencephaly in Children Delivered by NJ Resident Mothers, Statewide Rates, 2003-2008
**Counts and rates are suppressed for years when counts are below 5 due to instability of rates. Observed differences in
the annual frequency of a specific birth defect may be due to random variability.
Birth Certificate Database, Office of Vital Statistics and Registry, New Jersey Department of Health;
Fetal Death Certificate Database, Office of Vital Statistics and Registration, New Jersey Department of Health;
Early Identification and Monitoring Program, Special Child Health and Early Intervention Services, Division of Family Health
Services, New Jersey Department of Health;
Number of children with anencephaly delivered per 10,000 live births and stillbirths to women residing in New Jersey in a
specified time interval.
How We Calculated the Rates
Number of children with anencephaly delivered among live births and stillbirths to women residing in New Jersey in a specified
Count of all live births and stillbirths to women residing in New Jersey in a specified time interval.
Page Content Updated On 07/31/13,
Published on 08/05/13
Special Child Health and Early Intervention Services, New Jersey Department of Health, PO Box 364, Trenton, NJ 08625-0364; Phone (609) 292-5676; Fax (609) 633-7820; Web: http://www.state.nj.us/health/fhs/index.shtml
Department of Health
P. O. Box 360, Trenton, NJ 08625-0360
Phone: (609) 292-7837
Toll-free in NJ: 1-800-367-6543 Our Locations
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