Cleft Lip and Palate

Give every child the chance to smile - Smile Train

Cleft Lip and Palate
Cleft Lip and Palate

image by: Comprehensive Community Based Rehabilitation in Tanzania - CCBRT

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The Cleft-Lip Smile I Never Knew I’d Miss

We knew from ultrasound photos that our son Dylan would arrive in this world with the same birth defect as the babies we’ve all seen in those Smile Train ads, the ones featuring children with faces and stories so desperate and concerning that they compel people to donate. I never imagined having a baby with a face like that in the same way that one doesn’t foresee giving birth to a child with an unexpected birthmark or color of hair. I also never pictured growing to love a “defect” so intensely that I would feel crushed when the time came to let it go.

The minute we received Dylan’s diagnosis, the blissful passivity associated with normal pregnancy was over. Clefts can be indicators…

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 The Cleft-Lip Smile I Never Knew I’d Miss

We knew from ultrasound photos that our son Dylan would arrive in this world with the same birth defect as the babies we’ve all seen in those Smile Train ads, the ones featuring children with faces and stories so desperate and concerning that they compel people to donate.

Bright Faces

To treat patients still suffering from cleft lip and palate with complete medical and surgical care. We serve the underserved.

Operation Smile

Without surgery, 9 in 10 children born with a cleft condition could die. Your monthly gift will change their lives.

Smile Train

Smile Train is an international children’s charity with a sustainable approach to a single, solvable problem: cleft lip and palate.

A cleft lip and palate...what now?!

A blog about our son Jake, born in 2008 with a cleft lip and palate. I started it the day after the cleft was diagnosed and continue to write for people who turn up here every day after getting the same news. A cleft lip and palate is not the end of the world. Start at the first post and then read on...

Cleft Lip and Palate Association

Since 1979, The Cleft Lip and Palate Association (CLAPA) has been the only national charity dedicated to all those with and affected by cleft lip and/or palate in the UK.


Making a world of difference in a world of facial differences.

Rachel's Journey

Rachel was born August 31, 2004 with a unilateral cleft lip and palate. This blog follows Rachel's progress on this journey of repairs, her continued progress, and development into a little girl that brings many blessings.

Step by Step Cleft

Welcome! It is my hope that Step by Step Cleft will educate, inspire, and uplift all who come across it! This blog is meant to be read from the beginning, or oldest post to the most recent post.

The Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Journal

The mission of The Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Journal is to publish information of the highest scientific quality regarding cleft palate and other craniofacial anomalies in order to advance the global education of scientists and clinicians.

The Diary of a Cleft Family

A diary of our experience following an antenatal Cleft diagnosis.

The Sweetest Little Smile

This blog is dedicated to my sweet baby boy William, who was born on 9/20/2013 with a bilateral cleft lip and palate. I created this blog to capture the multi-year journey we are about to embark upon and to share our story with anyone who is interested. Hopefully, our story will help other families who are in the same situation, and will maybe even spread some awareness about this common birth defect.

ACPA Family Services

Provides comprehensive information to educate patients, families, and professionals •makes referrals to cleft/craniofacial treatment teams

American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association

Advancing patient care and research for individuals affected with cleft lip, cleft palate and other craniofacial anomalies.

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

Cleft lip and/or palate that occurs with no other major defects is the most common birth defect in the United States. Cleft lip and cleft palate occur very early in pregnancy. Many possible causes are being investigated, but no single cause has been identified.


Cleft lip and cleft palate are birth defects that occur when a baby’s lip or mouth do not form properly during pregnancy. Together, these birth defects commonly are called “orofacial clefts”.


Cleft lip/palate is a part of more than 400 syndromes including Waardenburg, Pierre Robin, and Down syndromes. Approximately 30 percent of cleft deformities are associated with a syndrome, so a thorough medical evaluation and genetic counseling is recommended for cleft patients.


Children with a cleft lip or a cleft palate often have problems with feeding and talking. They also might have ear infections, hearing loss, and problems with their teeth. Often, surgery can close the lip and palate. Cleft lip surgery is usually done before age 12 months, and cleft palate surgery is done before 18 months.

Mercy Ships

Mercy Ships, a global charity, has operated a fleet of hospital ships in developing nations since 1978. Mercy Ships follows the 2000-year-old model of Jesus, bringing hope and healing to the world’s forgotten poor.


In a few cases, cleft lip and palate is associated with: •the genes a child inherits from their parents (although most cases are a one-off) •smoking during pregnancy or drinking alcohol during pregnancy •obesity during pregnancy •a lack of folic acid during pregnancy •taking certain medicines in early pregnancy, such as some anti-seizure medications and steroid tablets.


Although not a major cause of mortality in the developed world, it can lead to poor feeding, failure to thrive and impaired survival in places where healthcare resources are poor. CLP is a major cause of morbidity in places where corrective surgery is not available. Children may experience social stigmatisation, in addition to problems with speaking and hearing

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