It is not always possible to identify the reason a cleft lip occurs, but medicine has identified some common causes or factors that increase the chances of it happening:
- Women who smoke or drink
- Taking anticonvulsant medication (for epilepsy) in the first 3 months of pregnancy.
- Medication for Acne, cancer, and arthritis
- Genetic traits
Related issues the child may suffer from: It is not uncommon for children born with a cleft lip to have issues with their teeth. Teeth may be malformed or missing. There may also be difficulties with speech, although if the child undergoes surgery this will normally be resolved before it becomes a problem. Research in the UK has also shown that children born with a cleft palate may also have a shorter lifespan than others. There is also a possible link with autism in some cases.
Normally Cleft Palate is resolved within the first year of a baby’s life. A series of three operations may be carried out during this year to surgically correct the problem, before it impedes speech development.
So, is Cleft Palate Genetic? As we have seen earlier in the article, Cleft Palate is caused by a number of reasons, not all of them genetic. However, it has also been shown that a susceptability to Cleft Palate can also be passed on through the generations. So the answer to this question is both yes and no. It can be a genetic condition, but it can equally be caused by other lifestyle factors.
Parents pass the problem of cleft lip through generations if either partner carries the gene. At the moment, it is not possible to resolve this but in the future gene therapy may correct the issue. For now, all that is possible is to correct the issue after birth. This normally involves three operations before the baby reaches its first birthday.