This study examines the association between oral clefts and first trimester maternal lifestyle factors based on prospective data from the Danish National Birth Cohort. The cohort includes approximately 100,000 pregnancies. In total 192 mothers gave birth to child with an oral cleft during 1997-2003. Information on risk factors such as smoking, alcohol consumption, tea, coffee, cola, and food supplements was obtained during pregnancy for these and 828 randomly selected controls. We found that first trimester maternal smoking was associated with an increased risk of oral clefts (odds ratio (OR): 1.50; 95% confidence interval (CIs): 1.05, 2.14). Although not statistically significant, we also saw associations with first trimester consumption of alcohol (OR: 1.11; CIs: 0.79, 1.55), tea (OR: 1.31; CIs: 0.93, 1.86), and drinking more than 1 l of cola per week (OR: 1.40; CIs: 0.92, 2.12). Furthermore supplementation with > or =400 mcg folic acid daily during the entire first trimester (OR: 0.75; CIs: 0.46, 1.22) suggested an inverse associated with oral clefts, similar to our results on coffee drinking. No effects were found for smaller doses of folic acid, vitamin A, B6 or B12 in this study. The present study found an association between oral clefts and smoking and, although not conclusive, supports an association of oral cleft with alcohol.