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Cleft lip and palate

cleft; lip; palate; ;

Cleft lip and cleft palate may occur together or separately in a newborn child. Most cleft problems can either be found at the routine 20 - 24 week ultrasound examination, or at birth. A cleft lip affects a baby's and child's appearance, and a cleft palate can lead to feeding problems, speech and hearing problems, ear infections, dental decay, jaw development problems and psychosocial issues.

These problems can usually be treated very successfully by surgery, which is started in the first few months of the baby's life. Several operations may be needed.

In Australia there are teams of nurses, doctors, dietitians and dentists who will help you navigate the difficulties and treatments your child will need. You will usually be contacted by a member of the team soon after your baby's birth, or sometimes before the birth if the cleft has been detected by ultrasound screening.

To find out more: 

Raising Children Network (Australia) 

Better Health Channel, Victoria.

Pregnancy, birth and baby 


South Australia

Australian Craniofacial Unit, Women's and Children's Hospital (South Australia)

Cleft Palate Clinic, Flinders Medical Centre
– telephone (08) 8204 4188


Medicare cleft lip and cleft palate scheme
This helps families meet the treatment costs for specialised services for cleft lip and palate conditions until the child is 28 years old.

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The information on this site should not be used as an alternative to professional care. If you have a particular problem, see a doctor, or ring the Parent Helpline on 1300 364 100 (local call cost from anywhere in South Australia).

This topic may use 'he' and 'she' in turn - please change to suit your child's sex.

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