Here’s What Every Expectant Parents NEEDS To Know About Cleft Lips
Out of all the common ear nose and throat problems in children and adolescents, cleft lip and cleft palate conditions might be the most scary for new or expectant parents. Here in the United States, one or two out of every 1,000 children is born with a cleft lip or cleft palate. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, each year about 2,650 children are born with cleft palates and about 4,440 with cleft lips. Fortunately, these conditions can be treated with a surgery that will restore their appearance and quality of life as the child grows up.
These common birth defects occur when a child is born with an opening in the upper lip that extends upwards towards the nose (cleft lip), or an opening between the roof of the child’s mouth and nose (cleft palate). For nervous expectant mothers worried about these conditions, risk factors can include smoking while pregnant, diabetes, pregnancies in later life, obesity, and more, but they can also usually be identified with a simple ultrasound.
And for especially nervous expectant mothers, it’s worth repeating that with proper treatment, these conditions can usually be corrected, and there’s no reason a child born with the conditions can’t have a completely normal, healthy life. Even so, there are certain side effects sometimes associated with cleft palates and cleft lips.
Because of the opening towards the nose, some children suffer from hypernasal speech, which can also be successfully treated. Plus, research shows that speech therapy like hypernasal speech treatment can be more successful with early intervention. In addition, some children with cleft palate disorders sometimes suffer from hearing loss, as well as frequent ear infections throughout their childhood.
When a child is born with a cleft lip, ENT doctors usually recommend surgery two or three months after birth. Cleft palate repair is usually recommended between six and 18 months after birth, with most cleft palate repair occurring between six and 12 months.
If you’re worried that your child might be born with these conditions, then don’t. They have a parent that loves them so much he or she is already worried about them.