MATERNAL AND PATERNAL RISK FACTORS ASSOCIATED WITH PALESTINIAN CLEFT PATIENTS
Background: Cleft lip with or without cleft palate (CL/P) is the most common orofacial anomaly in newborns and the incidence varies based on ethnicity, etiology of Clefts seem to be related to many factors including environmental, genetic, and geographic factors. Identification of risk factors can lead to prevention and decreasing the cleft incidence rate. The aim of this study is to identify the risk factors associated with Palestinian CL/P. Methods: This study is a cohort retrospective, descriptive, non-randomized study using a survey administered to parents of children with congenital anomalies in the West Bank Hospitals. Results: Out of 543 patients, the highest clefting rate was in southern regions, with no significant association between rural, urban or refugee status. (53%) of parents were consanguineous. Only 13% of patients had at least a first-degree blood relative with a cleft patient and 43% with other relatives. 95% of patients’ mothers received prenatal care and only 14% of clefts appeared in ultrasound image, 5% of mothers took folic acid (FA) before pregnancy and 60% took FA during pregnancy. The smoking rate for mothers of children with clefts was 4%, but 64% were exposed to second-hand smoking. Conclusion: Consanguinity, maternal exposure to smoking and lack of FA intake before and during pregnancy appear to be risk factors of carrying cleft infants. However, sex, refugee status, or civil status were not significantly associated with an increased risk of CL/P. Further studies and education programs were required.