What Is Cleft Palate And How It Can Affect The Baby’s Life?
Hare lips and cleft lip are terms used to describe the cracked upper lip. It is a kind of congenital deformity occurs in the maxillofacial and oral region. The baby’s face starts developing when a woman is five weeks pregnant. Embryonic protrusions slowly combine to form the baby’s face.
There will be deformities in the baby’s face if embryonic protrusions fail to merge properly. Cleft lip is a common facial deformity in newborn babies. Health experts call it a multifactorial genetic health issue. It often affects the left side of the child’s face.
What Are The Types Of Cleft Lips?
The cleft lip condition can be divided into two categories:
- Unilateral cleft lip
- Bilateral cleft lip
Some experts also divide this problem according to the degree of the split. The types would be as follows:
- Degree I: the problem is limited to red lips
- Degree II: the lip is cleft partially and the crack won’t be too deep to reach the base of the nose.
- Degree III: the fissure is in the upper lip and it splits the nasal base into two.
It won’t appear like the mucous membrane and skin are damaged, but there won’t be a muscle layer. This deformity can severely affect the child’s life in many ways.
What Are The Causes Of Cleft Lips?
It is hard to identify the cause of cleft lip or cleft palate in some babies. Some children are born with such a face deformity due to changes in their genes. Researchers believe environmental factors and genetic factors are mainly responsible.
Physical deformities occur when the child is developing in the mother’s womb. A cleft palate can occur due to the following causes:
Family history of congenital malformation
The risks of cleft lip problem increase if there is a history of congenital malformation in the family. Both father and mother can pass such genetic issues to the child.
Other potential culprits
Factors such as injuries, viral infections, medications, alcohol intake, and smoking can also affect the child’s development in the womb. As mentioned earlier, the baby’s face starts developing after five weeks of conception. Any of the suggested factors can affect the child’s development. Consequently, the baby can get facial or other physical deformities.
It is not a life-threatening condition. It can affect the child’s social life if you don’t decide to get quick treatment.
How To Diagnose Cleft Lip?
It is possible to diagnose cleft lip during pregnancy. The doctor can find out this facial deformity in a routine ultrasound. It should not be too tough to diagnose this problem after the child’s birth. Certain kinds of cleft lip disabilities do not show the sign at the time of birth. These include bifid uvula and submucous cleft palate.
There are certain procedures to identify this issue, which are as follows:
- Temporomandibular joint radiography
- Oral and maxillofacial examination
Both of these examinations can reveal whether a child has cleft lip or not. You need highly skilled professionals to assess the child’s facial deformities with these procedures.
How To Treat Cleft Lip?
Most parents think the cleft lip issue only affects the child’s appearance. It’s not just about the child’s appearance! Cleft palate can also affect the child’s voice, swallowing, and psychology as he grows older. Surgical treatment is required to cure this problem. The baby can undergo the surgery when he is 3-6 months old.
Can a newborn baby get a surgical treatment for cleft palate?
The surgeon won’t advise the surgery if the child is not 3 months old. The treatment at such an early age may not be successful. A newborn child is not ready to undergo such a major treatment. Therefore, parents should wait until the baby is 3-6 months old.
Is cleft lip surgery a reliable cure?
A newborn child may face some troubles in breastfeeding. It will indicate how this problem can trouble the child in the future. The cleft lip surgery should be carried out by a seasoned surgeon. You should take this treatment within the first year of the baby’s life.
Doctors recommend parents get the cleft palate treatment within the first 18 months. The child may need more surgeries in the future to have better hearing, speech, and breathing capabilities. The baby will also need speech therapy and special orthodontic care if he doesn’t get the surgical treatment in time.
How To Prevent Cleft Lip Or Cleft Palate In Neonates?
The following precautions can help you in preventing cleft lip:
A comprehensive pre-pregnancy checkup can help in preventing cleft lip problem in the child. The neonate can have facial deformities like cleft palate due to genetic reasons. If the father’s or mother’s family has incidences of similar disease, the risks will be high. Parents can take necessary precautions for the proper development of the fetus.
Take proper care during the pregnancy period
It is quite important to maintain a hygienic environment in the house when you are pregnant. Do not take any medication without consulting with the doctor. Regular workouts and proper nutrition are necessary. Lack of oxygen can also cause genetic mutation. Therefore, clean air can aid in the proper development of the child.
Quit bad habits
You must quit drinking alcohol and smoking if you are pregnant. Do not allow any family member to smoke inside the home. It can affect the child’s development and cause other complications.
Many studies show that smoking and drinking can cause cleft lip in the baby. Quitting these bad habits is not only necessary for the child, but also good health of the mother. Therefore, you should stay prepared for this before you conceive a baby.
Take supplements and a healthy diet
Nutrients like vitamin B, C, D, calcium, phosphorus, and iron are quite important to take during the pregnancy period. Pregnant women should also avoid unnecessary stress and stay entertained. Avoid antibiotics, keminjing, histamines, and sleeping pills. Avoid exposure to microwave and radiation to keep your child safe.
Stay prepared before pregnancy
It is possible to prevent cleft lip in babies before pregnancy. If you are planning to get pregnant, start the intake of folic acid supplements. Continue the intake of this supplement for the first trimester of the pregnancy. It can prevent physical deformities in the fetus and prevent abnormalities in the child.
How To Feed Babies With Cleft Lip?
Follow the below-given tips to feed a baby with cleft lip:
Maintain the right breastfeeding posture
You should sit straight and feed the child in the cradle or cross-cradle position. Hold him at a 45° angle and keep his face close to your breast. Be patient when the child is feeding slowly. A newborn child is not habitual nourishing in this way. It can be helpful if you sit calmly and while feeding the child.
Help the child in sucking milk
If the baby’s lips don’t close properly, the mother can use her fingers to help the child.
Feed through a plastic bottle
If the baby can’t breastfeed properly, use a clean milk bottle with the right flow rate to feed the baby. Pick the bottle carefully and sanitize it every time you feed the baby.
Try the squeeze feeding technique
Use a breast pump to collect breast milk in a squeezable bottle. Now, use this bottle to pour milk slowly into the baby’s mouth. Thus, the baby will get a steady supply of milk without any trouble.
It will be easier to feed the baby once he starts consuming complimentary meals. There will be no trouble at all if the baby gets the treatment between 3-6 months.
Is Cleft Lip A Fatal Condition?
It can frighten some parents if their child is born with cleft lip. It is not a fatal disability and the child can easily survive. Quick surgical treatment can prevent future troubles though! Only 1 of 700 neonates has this disability.
It is a curable deformity and we have already mentioned the right time to get the treatment. You should not worry if there are good surgeons in your region. Choose the same hospital where the baby is born for surgery or pick another hospital.
Meet the surgeon before taking the treatment. Take your child for comprehensive screening. It will allow the surgeon to plan a perfect surgical procedure for the best recovery.
Does A Child With Cleft Lip Live A Healthy Life?
The baby will face troubles feeding for a few weeks. It won’t be an issue if the mother follows the feeding tips shared in this post. Babies born with cleft lip live a healthy life, but this disability can affect their social life. Therefore, early treatment is good for better health and social life.
There is no need to panic if your baby is born with a cleft lip. Choose a top-rated surgeon and get more information on cleft palate treatment. The surgeon will provide the best treatment and your child will recover quickly. Follow all the precautions the surgeon suggests to prevent future troubles and keep your child healthy.