Pregnancy is a very hard time for women because so many things change within their bodies during the months of pregnancy. In the first trimester, which is the first three months of the pregnancy. It is within those three months that the birth defect known as the cleft lip and palate could develop, according to findings from the CDC. A cleft is when the tissue that comprises the roof of one’s mouth does not fully fuse together during pregnancy, leaving a gap that will later need to be closed. A baby born with a cleft palate is not a death sentence. There is very effective treatment with surgery, which is usually performed within the first year of the child’s life. Before the surgery is performed, taking care of a baby with a cleft can be challenging in terms of feeding and cleaning. After the surgery, depending on the child’s needs, more surgeries and therapies could be needed. No one has found out why some children are born with cleft lip and palate, but the CDC, with the help of research studies, has found a few things that could increase the risk of the child having a cleft.
In the first trimester after conception, the large, black rings for the eyes give a primitive facial shape. The neck, lower jaw, and mouth are still developing. Blood cell formation has begun, and circulation will soon start. But it is also at the end of the first month and into the seventh week. That the cleft can start to appear (1 to 3 Months Pregnant). The development of a cleft can be found with the ultrasound that the mother goes to. And can be monitored for the severity of the cleft, so the team of surgeons and nurses can make a plan. As to why a cleft would form, no one knows exactly why, but the CDC has found through studies that there are high-risk mothers or actions a mother could perform that could in turn increase the risk of the baby having a cleft. Smoking during pregnancy increases the risk of having a child with a cleft palate. Cleft birth defects are more likely to occur in the children of women who were diagnosed with diabetes before becoming pregnant. The use of some medications, such as those prescribed for epilepsy, may raise the risk of having a cleft.
The treatment of a cleft involves closing the gap that forms after birth. But the surgery does not take place right after birth. Everyone waits for the child to be a few weeks old, but it is recommended that it be done at least in the first year of life. During the surgery, the surgeons also try to give the child the best chance of normalcy by putting the scar in the line of the lip or the natural line leading to the nose. Other surgeries may be needed, depending on the seriousness of the cleft. Later in the child’s life, other forms of treatment may be needed in the form of speech therapy, specific orthodontics, or dental care.
After the birth and before the surgery, taking care of a baby with a cleft can be challenging for anyone. A baby with a cleft may not be able to breastfeed or use a normal nipple on a baby bottle. There is also a higher chance of the baby breathing in the milk and getting an infection in their lungs. So a special nipple was invented to help both mothers and babies lessen this chance. Cleaning up after a child can also be hard. The flesh in the month is not as protected, there is a cleft lip precedent, and there is a higher risk of irritation from touching or soap.
Niranjane, P.Priyanka, et al. “Current Status of Presurgical Infant Orthopaedic Treatment for Cleft Lip and Palate Patients: A Critical Review.” Indian Journal of Plastic Surgery, vol. 47, no. 3, Sept. 2014, pp. 293–302. EBSCOhost, https://doi-org.uaf.idm.oclc.org/10.4103/0970-0358.146573.
Parsons, Christine E., et al. “The Effect of Cleft Lip on Adults’ Responses to Faces: Cross-Species Findings.” PLoS ONE, vol. 6, no. 10, Oct. 2011, pp. 1–6. EBSCOhost, https://doi-org.uaf.idm.oclc.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0025897.
“1 to 3 Months Pregnant – 1st Trimester Baby Growth & Development.” WebMD, www.webmd.com/baby/1to3-months#:~:text=Tiny%20buds%20that%20eventually%20grow,sensory%20organs%20begin%20to%20develop. Accessed 4 Aug. 2023.
“Cleft Palate: Feeding Your Baby.” Nationwide Children’s Hospital, www.nationwidechildrens.org/family-resources-education/health-wellness-and-safety-resources/helping-hands/cleft-palate-feeding-your-baby. Accessed 4 Aug. 2023.
“Facts about Cleft Lip and Cleft Palate.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 28 June 2023, www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/birthdefects/cleftlip.html#:~:text=A%20cleft%20palate%20happens%20if,of%20the%20palate%20is%20open.