Many children are born with cleft lip. It has a significant impact on the little ones and their families. Ridiculed mainly by society for their looks, many can’t afford the surgery due to the cost involved. Also, speech impairment and leaking of food and liquid through the nose make it challenging. Cleft lip is more common in males than in females.

A cleft palate is associated with an split or opening  on the roof of the mouth or the upper palate, as tissues sometimes fail to fuse. A split or cleft is found on the upper lip and sometimes happens inside the upper palate without affecting the lip.


Genes can play an important role in the formation of cleft lip and cleft palate. Newborn children may have congenital deformities inherited from their parents.

An incomplete facial process in embryos leads to a cleft lip. This happens in newborns from the fourth to the 12th week of gestation. Van der Woude syndrome is a uncommon genetic disorder that causes various deformities in the mouth, such as cleft lip and palate formation.

Pregnant women who lack folic acid and Vitamin B are at high risk. Their children may be born with a cleft lip. Some likely reasons include obesity, smoking, and alcohol consumption during pregnancy. Additionally, anti-seizure medicines may also contribute.

Children suffering from cleft lips, if left untreated, may result in speech disorders and chronic ear infections.

Prevention and cure

Eating enough vitamins and folic acid in pregnancy prevents cleft formation in children. Surgeons can repair a cleft lip and palate with palatoplasty. Palatoplasty is a surgery to close the opening between the nose and mouth. Doctors recommend performing the surgery when the baby is 10 to 12 months old. It repairs the deformity and aids speech development.

An ultrasonography of the fetus can detect any deformity and the occurrence of an aperture.

The way ahead

People associate superstitious beliefs with cleft lip and palate. Hospitals in cities perform surgeries daily. They sometimes offer them for free. However, it’s a grim situation in rural areas. Children suffer from mental agony once they have grown up.

Variations in voice and difficulty in eating also add to the woes.

Various organizations established camps to offer more information on cleft lips and palate and how to repair them. More awareness is the need of the hour. Also, screening pregnant women’s blood can be a deciding factor.