Did You Know?

Women can take steps
before and during
pregnancy to reduce the
risk of having a baby
born with birth defects.
Such steps include taking
a daily multivitamin with
folic acid (400 micrograms),
not smoking, and not
drinking alcohol during
pregnancy.

About Cleft Lip & Cleft Palate

Cleft lip and cleft palate are birth defects that occur when a baby’s lip or mouth do not form properly. Together, these birth defects commonly are called “orofacial clefts”. These birth defects happen early during pregnancy. A baby can have a cleft lip, a cleft palate, or both.

Children with a cleft lip with or without a cleft palate or a cleft palate alone often have problems with feeding and talking. They also might have ear infections, hearing loss, and problems with their teeth.

Cleft Lip

The lip forms between the fourth and seventh weeks of pregnancy. A cleft lip happens if the tissue that makes up the lip does not join completely before birth. This results in an opening in the upper lip. The opening in the lip can be a small slit or it can be a large opening that goes through the lip into the nose. A cleft lip can be on one or both sides of the lip or in the middle of the lip, which occurs very rarely. Children with a cleft lip also can have a cleft palate

Cleft Palate

The roof of the mouth is called the "palate." It is formed between the sixth and ninth weeks of pregnancy. A cleft palate happens if the tissue that makes up the roof of the mouth does not join correctly. Among some babies, both the front and back parts of the palate are open. Among other babies, only part of the palate is open.

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