Cleft palate or cleft lip is a fairly common condition that is caused by a number of different factors ranging from genetic predisposition to having certain issues be present during pregnancy. Here are some influential considerations that occur during pregnancy and can significantly increase one’s chances of giving birth to a baby with either a cleft palate or lip or both.
Exposure to tobacco and alcohol
If a woman drinks alcohol or smokes tobacco during her pregnancy, or is around significant amounts of secondhand smoke, she may be more likely to have a baby who has a cleft palate or lip. It is best to minimize your exposure to tobacco and alcohol throughout your whole pregnancy, but it is especially important to do this during the first trimester when all of the baby’s organs are just beginning to develop.
Women who are obese during their pregnancies may be at somewhat higher of a risk for having a baby with a cleft palate or lip, as compared to women who are within an optimal weight range. Maintaining a healthy weight during pregnancy is just as important as it is during any other time in your life. In order to keep within a healthy weight range, try to work on eating just a small amount of extra calories per day, instead of following the myth of eating for two, which has been found to be unnecessary and potentially unhealthy.
Some studies indicate that women who have a diabetic condition before they get pregnant are at more of a risk for birthing a baby with a cleft lip or palate. It is important that you know if you are diabetic or not before your pregnancy so that you will be aware if this risk applies to you.
Keeping the above factors in mind will encourage you to try to stay as healthy as possible during your pregnancy.