How To Reduce The Chances Your Baby Will Have A Cleft Palate
Posted on 4/24/2023 by Dr McMurray
Pregnancy is a time for women to take stock of their healthy habits. They worry about getting enough nutrition and making sure their babies are getting the best care possible in utero. While you are thinking about your baby's nutritional needs, there is a simple way to make sure you are preventing issues with your child's mouth. Here is some information about cleft palate and how to reduce your baby's risk.
What Is Cleft Palate?
Both cleft lip and cleft palate represent a category of facial deformities that form during early pregnancy. If your baby has a cleft lip, you'll find that their upper lip has a gap, or an opening, on it. Cleft palates appear in the roof of a baby's mouth with a hole or a gap in it as well. Cleft lips and cleft palates are very common birth defects. About one in every 1600 babies is born with this particular defect. Both cleft lip and cleft palate must be repaired through surgery. Sometimes, a baby may need to have multiple surgeries throughout their childhood to fix a cleft palate.
How Can I Prevent Cleft Palate?
If you are considering pregnancy, take some steps to increase your baby's chances of being born without these defects. First, be sure you are eating plenty of folic acid. If you can consume over 600 micrograms of folic acid each day, you reduce the chances your baby will be born with cleft lip or cleft palate. Folic acid is part of most prenatal supplements. You can also eat folic acid in vegetables, such as broccoli and other leafy green veggies. Folic acid is also present in whole grains. If you begin to consume more folic acid (or folate) before you conceive, your baby has a greater chance of being born with a perfectly formed mouth or lip.
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