For some reason, cleft lips are more common on the left, but may also be bilateral. Cleft lips can even involve the alveolar margin, which is one of the two jaw ridges either on the roof of the mouth just above the upper teeth, or on the bottom of the mouth behind the lower teeth.
Causes and Risk Factors
The causes of orofacial clefts among most infants are unknown. Some children have a cleft lip or cleft palate because of changes in their genes. Cleft lip and cleft palate are thought to be caused by a combination of genes and other factors, such as things the mother comes in contact with in her environment, or what the mother eats or drinks, or certain medications she uses during pregnancy. Indeed, many scientists and physicians who have studied Zofran and birth defects have come to the conclusion that taking Zofran during early pregnancy significantly increases the risk of cleft lip and cleft palate.
Recently, the CDC reported on important findings from research studies about some factors that increase the chance of having a baby with an orofacial cleft:
• Smoking―Women who smoke during pregnancy are more likely to have a baby with an orofacial cleft than women who do not smoke.
• Diabetes―Women with diabetes diagnosed before pregnancy have an increased risk of having a child with a cleft lip with or without cleft palate, compared to women who did not have diabetes.
• Use of certain medicines―Women who used certain medications during the first trimester (the first 3 months) of pregnancy have an increased risk of having a baby with cleft lip with or without cleft palate, compared to women who didn’t take these medicines.
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