The Honourable Anne McLellan, Minister of Health, has launched a national campaign to raise awareness of the benefits of folic acid to help prevent birth defects. The campaign highlights the importance of folic acid in preventing neural tube defects. These birth defects include abnormalities of the spine, brain or skull that occur if a part of the developing fetus called the neural tube, fails to close properly in early pregnancy. Spina bifida is the most common neural tube defect. About 260 babies are born in Canada each year with a neural tube defect.