A cleft palate is a facial defect in babies that occurs when they are developing inside the womb. A baby’s facial features develop in the first 3 months. Their lips form first, followed by the mouth and palate. Clefts occur if the tissues and cells don’t form in the right way.
The exact cause of a cleft palate is unknown. It can be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Some of the common reasons for a cleft palate during pregnancy include:
- Mothers coming in contact with certain environmental factors such as certain pesticides, heavy metals, or toxic chemicals
- Mothers consuming alcohol or doing drugs
- Certain medications that mothers take during pregnancy:
- Mothers getting exposed to certain viruses (rubella, chickenpox, measles, and toxoplasmosis) during pregnancy
- Mothers having diabetes before pregnancy
- Mother not getting enough folic acid or other nutrients
- Family history of a cleft lip or palate
- Mothers who smoke
What is a cleft palate?
A cleft palate is a birth defect that causes an opening or fault in the roof of the mouth (palate). The word cleft means split or break. The palate is usually formed between the sixth and ninth week of pregnancy. However, in babies with a cleft palate, the tissue that forms the palate doesn’t fuse together during pregnancy. In some babies, a cleft palate can cause
- Opening of front and back parts of the palate.
- Opening of part of the palate.
About 1 or 2 in 1,000 babies are born with a cleft palate in the United States every year.
What are the symptoms of a cleft palate?
A cleft palate is immediately visible after birth. It may
- Appear as a split in the palate that affects one or both sides of the face.
- Be seen along with a defect in the lips along with the palate.
It may also cause
What is the treatment for a cleft palate?
The treatment for a cleft palate depends on the type of cleft and the overall health of the child. Treatment should start as early as possible to prevent future problems with the child’s development.
Most babies who have a cleft palate will need some type of surgery. A cleft palate should be repaired before the baby is 18 months old. Additional surgeries may be needed when the child grows up.
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Cleft Palate and Cleft LipCleft palate and cleft lip are facial and oral defects that occur early in pregnancy. A cleft lip is a split of the two sides of the upper lip, and a cleft palate is a split in the roof of the mouth. Cleft lip the fourth most common birth defect in the U.S. Repair of a cleft palate or cleft lip may require multiple surgeries.
How many surgeries does it take to fix a cleft palate?If a child has a cleft lip and palate, treatment will be divided into several surgeries. The first surgery corrects the cleft lip, whereas the second surgery repairs the cleft palate. Other surgeries may be required as well, depending on the severity of the condition.