Background: Neural tubes defects (NTDs) are known to be the second most prevalent congenital disorder worldwide whose risk factors have not been explicitly addressed yet. 

Aim: To determine the risk factors affecting NTDs among infants who referred to obstetrical centers in Kurdistan, a western province of Iran. 

Methods: This prospective case-control study was conducted in the form of prospective case-control. Sample population included all women (27,153 cases) who referred to obstetrical centers in Kurdistan for either delivery or abortion during 2013 and 2014. Inclusion criterion was the presence of a known NTD in infants, and exclusion criterion was the reluctance of patients to participate in the study. Accordingly, 46 cases participated in the study as the case group, and 138 cases (three times higher than case group) were selected to be the control group. Case and control groups were matched in terms of the number of pregnancies and place of birth. The variables investigated in the present study were as follows: age, occupation, BMI, abortion history, family relation with husband, fetus' sex, number of twins, history of previous children with NTD, receiving prenatal surveillance, consumption of folic acid and multivitamins, smoking, alcohol drinking, passive smoking, and suffering from such diseases as epilepsy and diabetes. Data were analyzed using various statistical tests, including chi-square, Fishers' exact test, multiple logistic regression analysis using SPSS version 20. In the study group, inclusion criteria included all women who had an infant with tube defects that their total number was 46 individuals. In the control group inclusion criteria included mothers with healthy infants who were similar to the study group in terms of birth place and frequency of pregnancy.

Results: The results of the present study demonstrated that prenatal surveillance (p<0.002), multivitamin consumption (p<0.001), history of having a child with NTD (p<0.001), alcohol drinking (p<0.014), and passive smoking were related to NTDs (p<0.001).

Conclusion: Before fertilization and during pregnancy, mothers should be examined in terms of exposure to harmful agents, diet, and nutritional status in order to identify possible risk factors and find opportunities to prevent NTDs in infants.


Keywords: Risk factor, Infant, abnormally, Neural tubes defect
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