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Cleft Lip And Cleft Palate


A cleft lip is when there is an opening or split in your child's upper lip. A cleft palate is when there is an opening or split in the roof of your child's mouth. Your child may have a cleft lip, a cleft palate, or both of these birth defects. They happen when your child's lip or the roof of his mouth do not grow normally during pregnancy.


Informed consent

is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that your child may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your child's medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done to your child. Make sure all of your questions are answered.

Emotional support:

Stay with your child for comfort and support as often as possible while he is in the hospital. Ask another family member or someone close to the family to stay with your child when you cannot be there. Bring items from home that will comfort your child, such as a favorite blanket or toy.


is a small tube placed in your child's vein that is used to give him medicine or liquids.


  • Antibiotics: This medicine is given to help treat or prevent an infection caused by bacteria.


  • Heart monitor: This is also called an ECG or EKG. Sticky pads placed on your child's skin record the electrical activity of his heart.
  • Intake and output may be measured. Healthcare providers will keep track of the amount of liquid your child is getting. They also may need to know how much your child is urinating. Ask healthcare providers if they need to measure or collect your child's urine.
  • Pulse oximeter: A pulse oximeter is a device that measures the amount of oxygen in your child's blood. A cord with a clip or sticky strip is placed on your child's foot, toe, hand, finger, or earlobe. The other end of the cord is hooked to a machine. Never turn the pulse oximeter or alarm off. An alarm will sound if your child's oxygen level is low or cannot be read.
  • Vital signs: Caregivers will check your child's blood pressure, heart rate, breathing rate, and temperature. They will also ask you or your child about his pain. These vital signs give caregivers information about your child's current health.


  • Fetal ultrasound: This test uses sound waves to show pictures of your baby inside your uterus. Your healthcare provider will rub gel on your abdomen and move a small, handheld tool through the gel. As this is done, pictures of your baby can be seen on a monitor.
  • Blood tests: Your child may need blood tests to give caregivers information about how his body is working. The blood may be taken from your child's arm, hand, finger, foot, heel, or IV.
  • Chest x-ray: This is a picture of your child's lungs and heart. Healthcare providers use it to see how your child's lungs and heart are working. It may also show any other birth defects.
  • Videofluroscopy: Your child will be given a special liquid to drink. After he drinks it, several x-rays are taken while your child speaks or swallows. This test may help healthcare providers find problems with speech and swallowing.
  • Nasendoscopy: Healthcare providers put a tube into your child's mouth or nose. A tiny camera on the end of this tube shows healthcare providers what happens when your child speaks.


  • Cleft lip and cleft palate repair: This is surgery to close the openings in your child's lip and mouth.


Your child may need more surgeries as he grows. He may need special dental care to help his teeth grow normally. Without treatment, your child may have problems sucking. This can delay how much weight he gains as he grows. He may be tired after he eats because he has to work harder to suck and swallow. Feeding problems may cause liquids to back up into your child's ear canals. This increases the chance of ear infections and long-term hearing problems. The cleft may also cause your child to have problems with speech.


You have the right to help plan your child's care. Learn about your child's health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your child's caregivers to decide what care you want for your child.

© 2017 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.