Sanjana Ahmed
Writing for Sciences

Facts about cleft lip and cleft palate [Internet].2015 Nov 12. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; [2015 Nov 12, cited 2016 Mar 1]. Available from:

According to the recent study done by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) each year in the United States, about 2,650 babies are born with a cleft palate and 4,440 babies are born with a cleft lip. Cleft lip and cleft palate are birth defects that occur when a baby\'s lip or the mouth do not form properly during pregnancy. These birth defects are called orofacial clefts. The lip starts forming between the fourth and seventh week of pregnancy. As the baby develops, body tissue and specials cells forms the facial features, like lips and mouth. A cleft lip happens if the tissue that make up the lip does not join completely before birth, which results in an opening in the upper lip. The roof of the mouth (palate) is formed between the sixth and ninth weeks of pregnancy. A cleft palate happens if the tissue that makes up the roof does not join together completely during pregnancy. For some babies, both front and back parts of the palate are open and for other babies, only one part of the palate is open. Children with a cleft lip or cleft palate often have problems feeding and speaking clearly and can have ear infections. They also can have problems with hearing and with their teeth. Women who smoke during pregnancy and women who are diagnosed with diabetes before pregnancy have an increased risk of having a child with orofacial clefts. Also taking certain medicines during the first trimester can increase risk of orofacial clefts. Orofacial clefts can be treated depending on the severity of the cleft. Surgery to repair a cleft lip usually occurs when the baby is at least 12 month and surgery to repair a cleft palate occurs when the baby is 18 months.
Children having orofacial clefts is not a deadly birth defect but is a serious issue. Each year about 6,000 babies are born orofacial clefts in the United States. Imagine how many babies are born with this birth defect around the world. Hopefully babies who are born with cleft lips and cleft palate can get surgery a year or two after their birth. However, many children will need additional surgical procedures, as they get older. Surgical repair can improve the look and appearance of a child\'s face and might also improve breathing, hearing, and speech and language development. Children who have orofacial clefts also need other types of treatments and services, such as special dental, orthodontic car or speech therapy. This may not be a death threating birth defect, however this is scary for the baby\'s family. Yes it can be surgically repaired, but is emotionally difficult for families to see their children be in pain. The birth defect orofacial cleft cannot be stopped, but can be decreased. People should be informed about the risk of smoking or taking medicine during pregnancy. If people are informed there will be less of any type of birth defect.