The relationship between poverty and incidence of cleft lip and cleft palate remains unclear. The authors investigated the association between socioeconomic status and cleft lip with or without cleft palate and cleft palate only in the United States after controlling for demographic and environmental risk factors.
The U.S. 2016 and 2017 natality data were utilized. Proxies for socioeconomic status included maternal education, use of the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, and payment source for delivery. Multiple logistic regression controlled for household demographics, prenatal care, maternal health, and infant characteristics.
Of 6,251,308 live births included, 2984 (0.05 percent) had cleft lip with or without cleft palate and 1180 (0.02 percent) had cleft palate only. Maternal education of bachelor’s degree or higher was protective against, and delayed prenatal care associated with, cleft lip with or without cleft palate (adjusted ORs = 0.73 and 1.14 to 1.23, respectively; p < 0.02). Receiving assistance under the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children was associated with cleft palate only (adjusted OR = 1.25; p = 0.003). Male sex, first-trimester tobacco smoking, and maternal gestational diabetes were also associated with cleft lip with or without cleft palate (adjusted ORs = 1.60, 1.01, and 1.19, respectively; p < 0.05). Female sex, prepregnancy tobacco smoking, and maternal infections during pregnancy were associated with cleft palate only (adjusted ORs = 0.74, 1.02, and 1.60, respectively; p < 0.05).
Increased incidence of orofacial clefts was associated with indicators of lower socioeconomic status, with different indicators associated with different cleft phenotypes. Notably, early prenatal care was protective against the development of cleft lip with or without cleft palate.
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