Babies born with just a cleft lip usually do not have feeding problems. However, when the palate is involved, feeding is a bigger challenge. A cleft palate makes it harder for babies to latch on and suck for feeding, requiring a special nipple and bottle. Babies with feeding issues have difficulty gaining weight. About 1 in 5 kids with cleft palate also have speech problems. Most often, this means a child’s voice is hypernasal due to the palate not moving well enough to prevent air from leaking around the nose. Speech therapy is often helpful.
Monthly Archives: July 2015
Cleft lip alone is twice as common in males, cleft palate alone is more common in females, and cleft lip and palate together is more common in males. Clefts can also affect other parts of the face, such as the eyes, ears, nose, cheeks, and forehead, but these are more rarely seen.
A cleft lip contains an opening n the upper lip that may extend into the nose. The opening may be on one side, both sides, or in the middle. A cleft palate is when the roof of the mouth contains an opening into the nose. These disorders can result in feeding, speech, hearing, and ear abnormalities. Speech therapy and dental care might also be needed.
Risk factors can include smoking during pregnancy, diabetes, advanced maternal age, obesity, and certain medications. A cleft lip or palate can be successfully treated with surgery.
With a worldwide prevalence of approximately 1.2/1,000 live births, cleft lip and palate are the most common craniofacial birth defects. It remains a prominent health issue in both developed and developing countries alike. While the cause is not known, evidence suggests there is an interplay of genetic and environmental factors.