Myths and Facts of Cleft Lip and Palate

Cleft Lip and Palate: Myths and Facts

Cleft Lip and Palate

Cleft is a common “craniofacial” anomaly. It is congenital, meaning babies are born with a cleft. Further, it is estimated that 1 in 1,000 babies are born with a cleft each year. Cleft can be present either as cleft lip or palate or a combination of both. Further, there are many syndromes in which cleft can be seen. So, in this blog, we are talking about cleft lip and palate: myths and facts.

Cleft lip and palate have no single cause. Further, environmental and genetic factors play a role in causing a cleft.  There are many myths that people believe to be the causative factor of the cleft. Lack of scientific understanding about the cause of cleft has affected people the world over. Further, there are rising incidents of cleft-related infanticide in countries around the world. This is a significant issue in society. So, we are busting some cleft lip and palate myths with facts today.

Cleft Lip and Palate: Myths and Facts

The pregnant mother saw or used a knife during an eclipse: Myth

Fact: There is no scientific backing for this claim. This claim is false and superstitious. Further, a cleft is caused due to insufficiency of folic acid during pregnancy, genetic factors in addition to many more causes.

The parents must have done something wrong: Myth

Fact: This is stigmatizing parents for a child born with a cleft. This is yet another false belief. Further, there are many reasons why a baby has a cleft. Additionally, the cleft is often present even in babies with no genetic history.

Cleft defects are 100% preventable: Myth

Fact: Right now, there is no way to 100% prevents the formation of a cleft in an unborn child. Further, researchers are working on this. But there is no known preventable method today.

Children from developing countries have cleft: Myth

Fact: Irrespective of the country, whether developed or developing, babies are born with a cleft. Further, babies in developed countries have access to treatment earlier than the others. Whereas babies in developing countries have to wait longer to avail treatment or surgery. Hence, children are born with cleft irrespective of the location.

Cleft is a cosmetic concern: Myth

Fact: Children born with a cleft face multiple issues. Further, issues in feeding, nutritional status, speech, and learning. Therefore, it is a survival and health-related emergency for any child. Cleft repair surgery is crucial. Furthermore, it helps the child to breathe easily, speak and feed safely.

Children with a cleft cannot smile: Myth

Fact: This is surely a myth. Babies are babies, whether cleft or not. They sure can smile and interact as all kids do. Of course, cleft repair surgery helps them smile better.

A cleft is fixed with one surgery: Myth

Fact: Babies born with clefts need one or more surgeries. A cleft lip is repaired between 3-6 months of age. Further, a cleft palate surgery is done when the baby is 10-12 months old. Furthermore, an adult undergoes multiple surgeries later in life. These surgeries can help in better feeding, speech, breathing, and cosmetic appeal. Therefore, a cleft is a long-term treatment process.

Children with a cleft cannot speak: Myth

Fact: Children born with cleft lip and palate can speak. However, due to the lack of structure, their speech is unclear. Speech and hearing difficulties are often present. So, children with cleft have access to speech-language therapy services. Speech therapy focuses on clarity of speech and overall language development.

Read blog on Speech tips for Cleft Lip and/or Palate

Children with cleft have learning difficulties: Myths

Fact: This is a myth. Not all children born with a cleft are average than then peers. Further, each child is different and their level of learning varies. However, there are high incidents of learning issues in children with cleft. The right academic support can help them perform like their peers.

Children with a cleft cannot lead a normal life: Myth

Fact: Of course, they can! They live a normal life like their peers. Further, with speech therapy, academic support, and family support they lead a normal life.


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Ayesha Anjum
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