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. In the United States, cleft lip and palate are reportedly most common in Native Americans and least common in African-Americans.
  • 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. Cleft lip and cleft palate may be more likely to occur in pregnant women who smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol or take certain medications.
  • Having diabetes. There is some evidence that women diagnosed with diabetes before pregnancy may have an increased risk of having a baby with a cleft lip with or without a 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.
June 17, 2015