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What are cleft lip and cleft palate?

Cleft lip and cleft palate occur as incomplete development of a fetus. It is where the lips (cleft lip) or the roof of the mouth (cleft palate) do not completely fuse in the mid-line. They can occur together or separately.
Cleft lip is a birth defect in which a baby's upper lip doesn’t form completely and has an opening in it. A cleft palate is a similar birth defect in which a baby’s palate (roof of the mouth) doesn’t form completely and has an opening in it. These birth defects are called oral clefts. Some babies and children with oral clefts may have feeding, speech or dental problems as well as ear infections and hearing loss. 

If members of your family have had an oral cleft or if you’ve had a baby with an oral cleft, talk to a genetic counselor to find out the chances of having a baby with an oral cleft.

Learn more at: marchofdimes.org

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.