A cleft palate is an opening in the roof of the mouth that connects with an opening in the nose. It happens when the tissues in what will become the baby’s face, do not connect properly. While abnormal genes may have a part in this birth defect, researchers are not sure what these genes are. In many cases, the causes of cleft palate are not known. Other causes could be environmental. The baby’s mother may have been older than usual, or a smoker, a heavy drinker, used illicit drugs or was subjected to other activities where her tissues may have been temporarily starved of oxygen. Other causes may be exposure to pesticides or exposure to substances derived from vitamin A called retinoids. Fortunately, this deformity is quite treatable and usually requires surgery to help fix the issue.
Keep reading to learn about another common birth defect, this time affecting the feet.