Around the world, 1 out of 700 babies are born with cleft lip and/or cleft palate.² July is National Cleft and Craniofacial Awareness and Prevention Month, a time to bring focus on the special challenges and treatment of babies born with orofacial malformations like cleft lip or palate. Around the world, 1 out of 700 babies are born with cleft.²

Birth defects affect babies all over the world.   A birth defect is a structural change to a baby’s body part, inside or outside the body. 

What Causes Birth Defects?

Birth defects happen as a result of: genetics, infection, exposure to an environmental toxin like radiation, or exposure to an internal toxin, like drugs, medication, alcohol, or smoking. They can also happen as a result of poor diet (low in folic acid) or uncontrolled blood sugar (Diabetes diagnosis or chronic high blood sugar).  

Every woman carries the risk of having a baby with a birth defect. This is called a background risk. The background risk for every woman is 3-5%. Yet, every woman can be proactive in reducing additional risk to her baby.