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Babies With Cleft Lip & Palate: A Mother’s Concern

It is quite unfortunate that your baby may have been born with a cleft lip or a cleft palate, which is generally described as a sudden malformation that occurs during the development stages of the fetus in the mother’s womb.

According to research, cleft lip and cleft palate affects more than 600 babies annually and comes as the fourth commonest birth defect in the USA. Much as experts are determined to draw more insight into the misshapen, they are really puzzled about the main cause of the deformity.

These deformities are realized when a baby is born.

What is a cleft lip or a cleft palate?

Both are facial deformities or malformations that occur during the early pregnancy stage. The clefting of the baby’s lip or mouth is believed to occur once there is inadequate tissue for forming the facial parts.

Cleft lips and cleft palates are two different deformities that can occur individually or both at a time.

A cleft lip is described when there is a physical split in both sides of the upper lip and appears as a narrow opening.

A cleft palate is another matter where an opening occurs on the roof of the mouth. This opening may extend to the hard palate of the mouth, and or to the soft palate of the mouth.

The extent of the split may differ from one baby to another as in some, the cleft lip or palate may involve the lower and the upper lip to the inner region of the upper mouth.

How & Why do the cleft lips and cleft palates form?

As the fetus develops, a cleft normally forms during the 5 to 7 weeks of pregnancy when the baby’s upper jaw, mouth and the lip fail to come or in other words join to complete the parts.

This problem is commonly linked to;

  • Genes

  • Medications that a mother would be taking during or prior pregnancy

  • Environmental factors

  • Exposure to dangerous chemicals

How can Clefts be treated?

A cleft lip or a cleft palate is surgically corrected after birth. Many babies are able to attain a properly formed facial appearance when immediately treated.

Normally, the surgery is performed during the first 5 months of the baby’s birth. The cleft lip surgery in India is performed by joining the separated tissue in the lower lip and the upper lip, whereas a cleft palate surgery in India is performed by correcting the hard and soft palate that include the gums, teeth, to the beginning of the throat.

A mother’s concern

Immediate action is required in case a mother desires to correct the deformity without imposing much difficulty on the growing child. A baby with a cleft lip or a cleft palate may find the following issues

  • Low self-esteem, appreciation, and confidence

  • Dental problems

  • Hearing loss

  • Speech problems

  • Eating problems

  • Depression among others

Cleft surgeries may be costly, depending on the baby’s extent of deformity, but the surgery will deliver permanent results to change the child’s life.

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