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Cleft Lip: About Diagnosis, Causes, & Other Information

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The thought of your child being born with any type of deformity can be completely overwhelming as an expecting mother. This condition is characterized by a split in the upper lip and can range in severity from one child to the next. along with cleft lip, cleft palate may also be involved in the deformity. Cleft lip occurs when the facial structures of a fetus do not develop as they normally would so that they don't close completely before the baby is born. Take a look at some of the most common questions regarding cleft lip discovery during pregnancy.

What causes cleft lip to a baby during pregnancy?

Cleft lip can have a variety of contributing causation factors involved. Even though it was once believed the cleft lip was caused by injury to the mother during pregnancy, this is not actually true. Instead, cleft lip is usually caused by things like what the mother eats and drinks during her pregnancy or even certain medications she may take during certain developmental stages of a fetus.

Is cleft lip a genetic problem?

Cleft lip and cleft palate can be a genetic condition. Therefore, if there is a history of cleft lip in the family, it could be more likely that you would have a child who is born with the same problem. While cleft lip can certainly be a genetic issue, it can also be due to relatively certain disorders and syndromes. Therefore, if syndromes that are associated with cleft lip run in your family, your child may be at a higher risk of being born with cleft lip.

Is it possible to discover a cleft lip during an ultrasound before birth?

According to the Mayo Clinic, an ultrasound around the 13th week of pregnancy can usually detect cleft lip. However, later ultrasounds will be able to better determine the severity of the problem. The position can usually examine the developing facial structures of the fetus and spot signs of a cleft lip.

How serious is cleft lip for your child?

Cleft lip can definitely be a serious condition because it will affect your child's ability to eat. The severity of cleft lip can be minimal, however, which may pose nothing more than differences in your child's appearance or differences in the shape of their mouth. Thankfully, the science behind surgeries to treat cleft lip has evolved significantly over the years. With the proper treatment after birth, your child should have no problem living a perfectly normal life as they grow.

If you would like to learn about cleft lip treatment options, including cleft lip surgery services, contact your child's doctor.