Several factors may increase the likelihood of a baby developing a cleft lip and cleft palate, including:

  • Family history. Parents with a family history of cleft lip or cleft palate face a higher risk of having a baby with a cleft.
  • Race. Cleft lip and palate are most common in American Indian and Asian children. Black children are least likely to have a cleft.
  • Sex. Males are twice as likely to have a cleft lip with or without cleft palate. Cleft palate without cleft lip is more common in females.
  • Exposure to certain substances during pregnancy. Babies born to women who smoked or drank alcohol during pregnancy are more likely to develop cleft lip and cleft palate.
  • Being obese during pregnancy. There is some evidence that babies born to obese women may have increased risk of cleft lip and palate.
Jun. 14, 2012

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