out the presence of other abnormalities. Exposure to certain substances during pregnancy. A cleft is a relatively common defect in newborns. In people of European descent, the rate is 1 in every 1,000 and for African Americans, it is 1 in every 2,500. Bibliography tter Homes and Gardens Family Medical Guide.Funk and Wangalls.
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The cause of these malformations may be mutant genes or teratogens. Since cleft palate is usually diagnosed at birth, it can usually be closed within the first year of life to enhance normal speech development. Having a baby born with a cleft can be upsetting, but cleft lip and cleft palate can be corrected. Speech may sound too nasal. In the United States, cleft lip and palate are reportedly most common in Native Americans and least common in African-Americans. Parents of the child need not feel responsible for their childs disorder, there is no known preventive measure. Children with a cleft learn to compensate when speaking. The risk may be higher if the mother smokes, or drinks over 10 units of alcohol a month during pregnancy, if she has insufficient folic acid or if she has obesity.