PreventionBy Mayo Clinic staff
After a baby is born with a cleft, parents are understandably concerned about the possibility of having another child with the same condition. While many cases of cleft lip and cleft palate can't be prevented, consider these steps to increase your understanding or lower your risk:
- Consider genetic counseling. If you have a family history of cleft lip and cleft palate, tell your doctor before you become pregnant. Your doctor may refer you to a genetic counselor who can help determine your risk of having children with cleft lip and cleft palate.
- Take prenatal vitamins. Taking a multivitamin before conceiving and during pregnancy may help reduce the risk of birth defects, such as cleft lip and cleft palate. If you're planning to get pregnant soon, begin taking a prenatal multivitamin now.
- Don't use tobacco or alcohol. Use of alcohol or tobacco during pregnancy increases the risk of having a baby with a cleft defect.
- Flint PW, et al. Cummings Otolaryngology: Head & Neck Surgery. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2010. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/about.do?about=true&eid=4-u1.0-B978-0-323-05283-2..X0001-8--TOP&isbn=978-0-323-05283-2&uniqId=230100505-57. Accessed May 24, 2012.
- Kliegman RM, et al. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 19th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2011. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/208746819-6/0/1608/0.html. Accessed May 24, 2012.
- Submucous clefts. Cleft Palate Foundation. http://www.cleftline.org/what-we-do/publications/fact-sheets/submucous-clefts/. Accessed May 25, 2012.
- Dixon MJ, et al. Cleft lip and palate: Understanding genetic and environmental influences. Nature Reviews Genetics. 2011;12:167.
- Wilkins-Haug L. Etiology, prenatal diagnosis, obstetrical management and recurrence of orofacial clefts. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed May 29, 2012.