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Cleft Palate

Author: Mandana Tavanaei


A cleft palate is a birth defect that occurs when the roof of the mouth does not form properly during pregnancy (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2020). About 1 in every 1,700 babies born in the United States each year are born with a cleft palate (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2020).


The roof of the mouth normally forms between the 6th and 9th week of pregnancy, but when the tissue that the roof of the mouth is made up of does not join together completely, a cleft palate occurs (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2020). In some babies, both the front and the back parts of the palate are open, while in others only a part of the palate is open (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2020).


A cleft palate is thought to occur because of a combination of genetics and things the mother comes into contact with during pregnancy. Smoking, diabetes, and certain medicines may increase the chance of having a baby with a cleft palate as well (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2020).


A cleft palate can be diagnosed during pregnancy by routine ultrasound. It may also be diagnosed after a baby is born, or later in life (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2020). The treatment depends on the severity of the cleft, the age of the child, and the presence of other associated birth defects. A surgical repair might be performed for children under 18 months to improve the function of the mouth and the appearance of a child’s face. Subsequent surgeries may follow as the child becomes older.


Reference:


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020, December 28). Facts about cleft lip and cleft palate. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved January 23, 2022, from https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/birthdefects/cleftlip.html#:~:text=What%20is%20Cleft%20Palate%3F,of%20the%20palate%20are%20open.