Prenatal Diagnosis of Cleft Lip and Palate

graphic of a unilateral cleft lip, bilateral cleft lip and a unilateral cleft lip and palate

Caring for your baby with a cleft lip and/or cleft palate requires experts in multiple disciplines who work together as a cohesive team. This multidisciplinary approach is extremely important because of the range of therapies that may be required to best care for your child’s needs.  At Michigan Medicine, you will find leading experts in the care for babies with head and facial (craniofacial) abnormalities.

How are cleft lip and cleft palate diagnosed?

Accurate diagnosis is extremely important to help your family prepare to care for a child with a cleft lip and/or cleft palate. During prenatal ultrasound, our Maternal-Fetal Medicine team at Michigan Medicine specializes in diagnosis and description of cleft lip and/or cleft palate birth defects before your baby is born. In addition to high resolution 3D and 4D ultrasound, our patients meet in consultation with the Maternal-Fetal Medicine specialist as well as genetic counselors.  Most often, cleft lip is diagnosed prenatally. Additionally, cleft lip is most often isolated. However, because of genetic syndromes and associations seen with clefts, we recommend consultation with our multidisciplinary team. Clefts of the hard palate can also be seen on prenatal ultrasound. However, at times when a baby has a cleft that only involves the soft palate, this may not appear on ultrasound or be obvious until the newborn experiences difficulty with feeding. A suspected cleft lip/palate diagnosis would then be confirmed by a detailed examination from the pediatrician.

After the diagnosis of cleft lip and/or cleft palate is made and families have a consultation in our Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment Center, they will also be referred to our Craniofacial Anomalies Program. Families are provided with education on what to expect at birth, feeding, breastfeeding assistance, timing for surgeries, and supportive resources including hearing and cleft lip and palate speech therapy. We are also able to connect you with other families who have cared for babies with cleft lip and/or palate so that you can learn more from their personal stories.

Because our Birth Center is positioned within Mott Children’s Hospital, our team is able to provide support to every new mom as soon as her baby is born. Our lactation specialists, obstetricians, and labor and delivery nurses collaborate with the pediatric craniofacial team to help families comfortably feed and love their baby.  

We collaborate to provide the highest quality, family-centered care for each child. The outlook for these children in terms of appearance, function, and psychosocial well-being is greatly improved by this innovative approach.

Having a baby with a cleft lip and/or palate does not change your plans for delivery. Our teams will be ready to support your family whenever your baby is born. We look forward to working with you to achieve the delivery experience that you most desire as you await the arrival of your baby.

Learn more about Cleft Lip and Cleft Palate.

Make an Appointment

If you have questions or would like to schedule an appointment with the Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment Center, please call 734-763-4264.