Cleft Lip & Cleft Palate

Today, I’ve decided I’m going to write a little about how a cleft lip and cleft palate is formed and some facts we should know about it. I recently remembered back to my freshman year when I was walking through Gobbler Fest and saw a club called Operation Smile. It was an organization that volunteered to help raise money to help kids with cleft lips and palates. I’ve decided to write about this topic because I wish I could go back in time and join this club for about a year to help the kids out since I’ve become too busy now with school work, my work study, and other organizations.

Cleft Palate

A cleft lip and/or cleft palate is when the lip/mouth doesn’t form completely during development. Approximately during the embryo’s fourth week, the face begins to form and the cleft lip is formed when the lip tissues below the nose do not connect together completely. This results in the forming of an incomplete lip, which is why there is an opening in the upper lip.

Similar to how a cleft lip is formed, a cleft palate is formed when the palate tissues in the roof of the mouth do not completely connect together. This also results with an opening in the roof of the mouth. The opening can either be in the front of the palate, the back of the palate or even worse the front and back of the palate.

To me after discovering all this information on how cleft lips/palates are formed, I would think an opening anywhere in the body that isn’t normally supposed to be there would be harmful or complicated. So decided to research what the effects would be and what could happen. I soon learned that the biggest issue was feeding the baby. Although babies with cleft lips can still breastfeed, a baby with a cleft palate could gag or even have milk come out through his/her nose. Other issues babies with cleft palates have is the possibility of loss of hearing, multiple ear infections, speech difficulties, dental problems, and many other complications.

After learning of the many things that babies have to experience, I wanted to know what caused them to happen so that I could do anything in my power to prevent it from happening to my children in the future. According to the CDC, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there is no known cause for cleft lips and cleft palates and was thought to be genetic. They have researched that although cleft lips and palates can be genetic, there is a correlation between women who smoke as well as women with diabetes who have given birth to babies with a cleft lip and/or a cleft palate.

After learning so much about how a cleft lip/palate is formed, what babies go through, and how they can be prevented, it makes me want to spread the word to women on how to prevent it from happening to their children so they don’t have to go through this particular complication growing up. It also makes me want to spread awareness and raise money so that these children can be helped by receiving surgeries to rid them of their cleft lip or palate. They are so young and haven’t experienced life yet and I would just want them to be able to have the chance to live the best life they possibly could. I just feel that if women can try to prevent a cleft lip or palate from forming, they should for the sake of their child.