Stories about: cleft lip

Expert insight on cleft lip and palate

Experts answer parents' questions about cleft lip and palate.

Learning that your baby has a cleft lip or palate can be upsetting, but these birth defects are quite common. They occur early in pregnancy when tissue from each side of the head grows together to form the face. If these tissues don’t completely join, the result is a cleft, or gap, on one or both sides of the upper lip. A cleft palate occurs when the tissue that forms the roof of the mouth doesn’t fully come together, leaving an opening between the mouth and nose.

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Kailyn’s smiles, Kailyn’s strength

newborn-cleft-lip
Photo credit: Samantha K Photography

On April 1, 2012, my husband Kevin and I found out we were expecting our second baby. We were very surprised as our daughter Kendall was just seven months old at the time. At the same time, we were very excited we would have two kids so close in age.

At our 20-week ultrasound, we had another surprise — this baby had a cleft lip.

We were pretty upset when we left the ultrasound. We couldn’t stop asking, “Why us? What did we do wrong?”

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