The frequency of a prenatal diagnosis of cleft lip or palate is increasing with the advent of more sensitive ultrasound technology.

We offer a three-part prenatal counseling visit to give you information about your infant's diagnosis. Without this visit, you could be given outdated or incorrect information that causes unnecessary worry.

During the visit, you will meet with a craniofacial team pediatrician, a social worker and a nurse.

The pediatrician reviews the diagnosis and the limits of ultrasound in detecting the anatomical details of the cleft, as well as the genetic and environmental theories of the causes of clefting.

Finally, the pediatrician outlines the treatment plan and explains the care that is needed throughout childhood.

The social worker talks with you about the psychosocial and emotional needs you may have as you prepare for the birth.

The nurse teaches you about changes in feeding technique that may be required with a cleft and provides you with special bottles. Infants whose parents are prepared with this feeding information have an increased chance to gain weight and grow normally.

Last, the nurse explains how to set up the first clinic visit once your baby is born.

The center has offered prenatal counseling since 1997, and 50 to 70 newborns with cleft lip or palate are seen each year. Only a few of these newborns are diagnosed before birth, but the number is rising.