Cleft Prevention Pregnancy Guidelines

There are three requirements for healthy embryonic and fetal development:

  • Healthy Mother
  • Healthy Lifestyle
  • Nutrition

To meet these three requirements, here are some guidelines…

Plan Your Pregnancy
You planned carefully when was the best time to buy the home, car, etc
To have a baby, it is even more important to plan. You can sell the car if you don’t like it; you can mover from one house to another one – but you cannot turn back any minute of the development of your baby during the pregnancy and do it better; you cannot return the baby with congenital anomaly and start over again…

Get a Genetic Evaluation
There are several types of clefts and geneticists will specify the diagnosis. The best preventive approach can be chosen based on the correct diagnosis and an analysis of your medical and pregnancy history.

Learn About Prevention
The majority of clefts are caused by interaction of genetic and environmental factors. A certain proportion of these clefts is preventable by nutritional changes and supplementation with multivitamins containing Folic Acid

Change Your Lifestyle
Our present lifestyle is often far from the optimum. We are exposed to environmental pollution, stress, etc. However, if you are planning a baby, there are many changes you should make to decrease the risk for congenital anomalies from environmental factors.

  • Do not smoke
  • Do not drink alcoholic beverages
  • Exercise and increase outdoor activities
  • Get enough sleep
  • Find the best way to reduce stress

See Your Doctor
See your primary physician and OB/Gyn specialist to learn about your present health status. Only a healthy mother can assure healthy embryonic and fetal development of the baby. However, if you have a medical problem that is known before you become pregnant, in the majority of cases it could be safely managed during pregnancy or treated before you become pregnant.

Focus on Your Nutrition
In general, your diet should be well balanced to secure that you are getting enough necessary nutrients.

  • Prefer unprocessed food as much as possible
  • Prefer fresh vegetable and fresh fruit
  • Prefer fish
  • Reduce meat and meat products
  • Think twice before choosing fast food as a meal
  • Read food labels
  • Avoid artificial sweeteners and artificial colors
  • Get enough Folic Acid in your diet

Especially if you are at risk for having a baby with cleft lip and palate you need enough Folic Acid, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12 and Zinc to ensure normal prenatal development. See our page about Folic Acid and Vitamin B12 for a list of the best natural sources of Folate.

Take Supplements
Studies show that a large proportion of the American population is not getting enough Folic Acid from their diet. Such a deficiency could put a fragile developing human being in great risk for congenital anomalies. At present, the FDA recommendation for pregnant women is 800mcg, the dose which is in prenatal vitamins. You should start to take them the moment you plan pregnancy.