The ability for a parent to prevent cleft lip and palate is limited, but pregnant women can be aware of actions that increase the risk to their baby. Smoking and drinking alcohol have been tied to birth defects including cleft lip and palate. Recreational drugs are known to cause a number of problems for a newborn.
Nutritional steps that reduce the risk of birth defects include following a healthy diet and taking a daily multivitamin with 400 micrograms of folic acid. Maintaining a healthy weight before becoming pregnant and keeping diabetes under control also lower the risks of cleft lip and palate. In addition, a woman should consult her doctor before taking any medications or receiving vaccinations.
Research into the genetic factors may one day lead to a means of preventing cleft lip and palate. Parents who have families with a history of clefts should include that consideration when planning pregnancy.