The palate or roof of the mouth usually forms between the sixth and ninth weeks into the pregnancy. If the tissues that form the palate fail to fuse properly during the gestation period, the baby is born with a cleft palate. According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR), a cleft palate is a prevalent congenital disability. One in 1,700 newborns are born with a cleft palate, and some babies have a cleft lip and cleft palate. Portland, OR pediatric plastic and craniofacial surgery can help correct your baby's cleft palate.

What are the risk factors for Cleft Palate?

There is no irrefutable evidence of what causes a cleft palate, but this problem is commonly attributed to genetics and environmental factors. Even if the prevalence is not as high as in the Global South, the number of children born with this congenital disability here is still causing concern. Below are the risk factors for developing a cleft palate:

Family history

If the parents or grandparents of the child were born with a cleft lip or palate, someone in the next generation would likely get it too. If you know of previous cleft lip or palate cases, speak to a genetics counselor before having another baby.


Women who have had diabetes before pregnancy or develop it during the gestation period have a higher chance of having a baby with this congenital disability. Consuming prenatal vitamins can bolster your immune system and aid in the normal development of the fetus.

Controlled substances

A woman who partakes in alcohol, smokes, or has an active prescription for certain drugs is more likely to deliver a baby with a cleft palate. Addicts should seek professional help not to abuse drugs or alcohol during the gestation period.

What are the complications of a cleft palate?

Apart from the obvious clues that a child looks different from other kids, failing to address a cleft palate can have adverse effects on your baby, as follows:

Difficulty feeding

It is not easy to breastfeed a newborn with a cleft lip or palate or a combination of both. Latching on to the breast may be easy, but sucking can be hard, affecting how much a baby can feed. Failure to feed well means the baby will be hungry, and their sleep is disturbed, affecting their overall development.

Dental problems

The aperture may extend up to the top gum, thus affecting the set of teeth coming in, so they do not grow normally. Dental problems may affect speech in the future, such as causing a lisp or making it hard to form words. A cleft palate makes the speech sound nasal, making it harder to communicate.

Self-esteem problem

A child born with a cleft lip or palate looks different from other kids, impacting their self-esteem. Social, emotional, and behavioral issues may arise as the child comes to terms with intensive care interventions they will need.

A cleft lip or palate needs addressing at the earliest opportunity to give your baby a chance to grow normally without medical complications.


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