Cleft lip is a congenital fissure in the lips , usually presenting with a cleft palate. It is a common birth defect, occurring in 1 out of every 500 births. The child may present it in isolation or as part of a syndrome.
Although it is not serious, it is only a small failure in the closure of the middle area of the face, it is usually experienced as a small trauma by families because it is feared that it could lead to the rejection of the child by others in the future. It is because the face is the area of our body that transmits the most emotional force and with which we communicate best.
Depending on the severity of the problem, it can present with a unilateral or bilateral cleft, including or not a cleft palate. When it presents both characteristics, it is called lip-alveolus-palatal fissure (FLAP). In addition, these children often have crooked teeth, speech difficulties and frequent ear damage such as recurrent infections.
WHAT ARE THE CAUSES OF CLEFT LIP?
During pregnancy, more specifically in the embryonic phase, there are areas of the embryo that are open and that gradually close as time progresses. However, sometimes these closures do not work out favorably and can lead to congenital damage as in this case. But why does this happen? There are a number of causes, they can be due to heredity (parents, grandparents or other relatives who have had a cleft lip) or environmental factors that have been affecting the woman during the months of pregnancy . For example, the use of tobacco (including secondhand smoke), alcohol, and even other types of drugs can trigger these problems.
On the other hand, the use of certain drugs can also prevent a correct embryonic closure . It is common to find mothers who continue taking their usual dose of a certain medicine thinking that it will not have harmful effects on the baby just because it is not indicated in the package insert. Normally they usually warn in it, but we cannot always trust them because there are some who do not indicate it, which is dangerous. Be very careful with antidepressants and diet pills! When in doubt, it is best to ask your doctor directly . Other reasons may be the lack of folic acid during pregnancy, vital for the proper development of the baby.
If you still want to know the exact cause of why the child has a cleft lip and smelly palate, you can consult a geneticist. It is a doctor who is in charge of studying the genes and can give you more detailed information about why it presents it.
CLEFT LIP TREATMENT
Although the diagnosis of cleft lip can be given from the second trimester of pregnancy, although unfortunately the problem cannot be intervened until after the baby is born.
The treatment of choice for children with cleft lip is maxillofacial surgery , being the first operation after six months of life of the baby, this first intervention is also usually used to drain fluid accumulated in the eardrum that can generate otitis in the future.
In addition, when the child presents a cleft palate, he will surely need a follow-up by otolaryngologists, speech therapists and orthodontists. In any case, an operation as soon as possible is the best way to solve the problem, because cleft palate and lip usually close in the first year of life and in many cases it does not even affect language, although it all obviously depends , of the seriousness of the case.
CLEFT LIP PREVENTION
A relationship between certain nutrients and cleft lip reduction has been seen in babies. The most important are the following:
1. Folic acid.
Surely you have already heard of the benefits of this compound from vitamin B. It has been recommended for pregnant women forever because it works as a protective factor against some abnormalities such as the appearance of spina bifida (a congenital anomaly for which the tube neural does not close properly). As one of the causes of cleft lip are closure failures during pregnancy, folic acid will protect against these types of problems.
In several studies, including one published in the medical journal online British Medical Journal, it was observed that increasing the usual dose of this component was reduced to 40% the chances that the baby born with this condition , that if, for this we than to take it during the first months of pregnancy. In fact, a study published in Ireland years ago found that mothers who did not reach acceptable levels of folic acid were four times more likely to have babies born with a cleft lip or palate.
On the other hand, if the parents are looking for a pregnancy, it is advisable for the woman to start taking extra folic acid even before conception . The normal dose is 0.4 mg before conception but if you go to the doctor, he can advise higher doses if he thinks it is necessary. During pregnancy, the doses should be maintained during the first trimester. And is that the diet of women is one of the most important environmental factors that ensure success in these issues. Folic acid can also be obtained through vegetables and fruits, although the probability of its appearance is reduced to 25%, which is still not little.
2. Vitamin A from fruits and vegetables.
It is known that both under and over ingestion of vitamin A is related to congenital malformations , although there have been almost no cases of problems from taking too much vitamin A, however it ensures that up to 3 mg is a safe dose.
In any case, mothers who increased their vitamin A intake by a quarter during pregnancy reduced the chances of their children having a cleft palate or / and a cleft lip by more than 50% compared to mothers who tended to eat a quarter less from their diet normal.
Finally, some recommended foods (for their doses of folic acid) to take before and during pregnancy are: fruits and vegetables such as asparagus, oranges, strawberries, avocados, spinach, peas, beans and almost all legumes, the most amount of folic acid have are lentils.