Maternal Risk Factors for Oral Clefts: A Case-Control Study

Document Type : Original


1 Gorgan congenital malformations research center, Golestan university of Medical sciences, Gorgan, Iran.

2 Department of Epidemiology, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.

3 Department of Gynecology, Gorgan Congenital Malformations Research Center, Golestan University of Medical, Sciences, Gorgan, Iran.


A cleft lip with or without a cleft palate is one of the major congenital anomalies observed in newborns. This study explored the risk factors for oral clefts in Gorgan, Northern Iran.
 Materials and Methods:
This hospital-based case-control study was performed in three hospitals in Gorgan, Northern Iran between April 2006 and December 2009. The case group contained 33 newborns with oral clefts and the control group contained 63 healthy newborns. Clinical and demographic factors, including date of birth, gender of the newborns, type of oral cleft, consanguinity of the parents, parental ethnicity, and the mother's parity, age, education and intake of folic acid were recorded for analysis.
A significant association was found between parity higher than 2 and the risk of an oral cleft (OR= 3.33, CI 95% [1.20, 9.19], P> 0.02). According to ethnicity, the odds ratio for oral clefts was 0.87 in Turkmens compared with Sistani people (CI 95% [0.25, 2.96]) and 1.11 in native Fars people compared with Sistani people (CI 95% [0.38, 3.20]). A lack of folic acid consumption was associated with an increased risk of oral clefts but this was not statistically significant (OR = 1.42, CI 95% [0.58, 3.49]). There were no significant associations between sex (OR boy/girl = 0.96, CI 95% [0.41, 2.23]), parent familial relations (OR = 1.07, CI 95% [0.43, 2.63]), mother's age and oral clefts.
The results of this study indicate that higher parity is significantly associated with an increased risk of an oral cleft, while Fars ethnicity and a low intake of folic acid increased the incidence of oral clefts but not significantly.