November 28, 2015
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Cleft Palate and Cleft Lip (cont.)

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Is it possible to prevent a cleft lip or cleft palate?

The large majority of infants experiencing cleft lip or cleft palate do not have a genetic predisposition or obvious risk factors. During pregnancy, there are issues that may increase the likelihood of producing a newborn with cleft lip and/or cleft palate. These may include the following:

  1. Certain medications to help prevent maternal seizures or migraine headaches (for example, topiramate [Topamax])
  2. Certain medications that are used as cancer chemotherapy (including methotrexate [Rheumatrex, Trexall])
  3. Smoking cigarettes (no information yet regarding e-cigarettes)
  4. Alcohol consumption
  5. Lack of folic acid supplementation prior to conception and throughout the pregnancy


Cleft Palate Foundation. <>

Jones, Kenneth Lyon. Smith's Recognizable Patterns of Human Malformation, 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: WB Saunders Co., 1997.


Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/9/2014


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