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A member asked:

my sisters son was born with a cleft palate. i am now pregnant and worried my baby may inherit it. is there anything i can do? is it genetic?

4 doctor answers11 doctors weighed in
Dr. Parul Krishnamurthy
Obstetrics and Gynecology 34 years experience
Multifactorial: Both genetic and environmental factors contribute to cleft palate anomaly. Genetically, you cannot do anything. Certain prescription medications such as steroids, medications used to control epilepsy, etc are associated with this risk. Any medication use during pregnancy should be with caution.
Dr. Jeffrey Marsh
Plastic Surgery 51 years experience
Genetic consultation: Some cleft palates run in families and are inherited, others are not. Dna testing can be done to identify some of those that are inherited. You should discuss this with your OB and get a referral to a genetics counselor or medical geneticist for more information.
Dr. Richard Ruden
Dentistry 38 years experience
Maybe: Traditionally, the diagnosis is made at the time of birth by physical examination. Recent advances in prenatal diagnosis have allowed obstetricians to diagnose facial clefts in utero. Genetic factors contributing to cleft lip and cleft palate formation have been identified for some cases, but knowledge about genetic factors that contribute to the more common isolated cases of cleft lip is sketchy.
Dr. Johanna Fricke
Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics 50 years experience
About 30% of cleft : Palates are associated with a genetic syndrome. You can ask your OB for a referral to a prenatal genetic counselor, who'll ask you for a 3-generation family history of problems with vision, hearing , bones & joints, motor & cognitive development. If recommended, a second-trimester 3-d fetal ultrasound may show a cleft palate if baby's face is turned just right for visualizing the palate.

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