What causes cleft lip and palate?
The exact causes of cleft lip and palate are unknown. In some cases it is hereditary, with parents who had a cleft lip or palate carrying a small chance of passing it onto their child, but most cases appear spontaneously. Smoking tobacco and drinking alcohol have been implicated as potential contributors, but the evidence is unclear. A deficiency in folic acid during pregnancy may also contribute to cleft lip and palate. Certain drugs, including some used to treat epilepsy, have also been implicated.