How We Help

Improving the Health of Mom & Baby is Our Priority

The Center for Better Beginnings is dedicated to improving maternal health and child development, with a focus on better understanding, preventing, and treating birth defects. Birth defects are a leading cause of infant mortality in the United States and a major public health priority. More than 5,500 infants die each year because of birth defects—that is 4 times the rate caused by accidents or unintentional injuries.

Babies who live with birth defects can be at a higher risk for many lifelong physical, intellectual and/or behavioral challenges. Learning your child may have a birth defect can be difficult to absorb. Our customized care approach offers programs and services to support families seeking diagnosis, treatment and prevention.

Our Center’s focus is on the comprehensive elimination of birth defects. We know this is only possible through pioneering research efforts, coupled by public health outreach and professional training. See how our programs work together to improve maternal health and promote better outcomes for both parents and babies.

  • Information & Counseling Services

    Free Risk Assessment on Exposures in Pregnancy & Breastfeeding

    Having a safe pregnancy and a healthy baby is important to you. That’s why you need safety and exposure information from a trusted source based on the best health research available. Our MotherToBaby California program provides answers to the questions you have about the safety of medications, chemicals, recreational substances, or other environmental agents to which you may be exposed during pregnancy and while breastfeeding. The service is free and confidential, can be used by women, their families and their health care providers, and is available in both English and Spanish. You can communicate with our experts by phone, email or live chat.

    Find out why MotherToBaby California is your go-to source for information on exposures during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

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  • Research & Discovery

    Unwavering Curiosity to Improve Lives

    Research helps us better understand problems so we can develop better solutions, and we are at the forefront of research to better understand the causes of birth defects, how often they occur, and ways we can prevent them. Whether we’re evaluating the safety of a medication or vaccine taken in pregnancy, examining the extent to which recreational substances like marijuana can be found in breast milk, tracking the long-term development of children in Ukraine who were prenatally exposed to alcohol, or monitoring cases of a wide variety of birth defects in the State of California, one thing is certain: we won’t stop researching until we have the answers that moms and babies deserve.

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  • Clinical Services

    Tenderly Caring for Patients with Birth Defects

    Through UC San Diego Health and our partnership with Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego, we help children by providing quality care to babies those born with birth defects and genetic conditions. Our pediatricians, Dr. Kenneth Lyons Jones and Dr. Miguel del Campo, are dedicated to giving each child they see the best patient care possible. We also house a Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) screening program for high-risk populations, and are at the forefront of developing a technology-based healthcare delivery program to diagnose FASD in rural and underserved areas.

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  • Training & Workshops

    Training Physicians, Scientists, Social Workers and More

    Knowledge is power, and we are dedicated to empowering the community and the next generation of professionals. Our educational workshops bring the opportunity for a wide variety of audiences to learn more about the causes of birth defects and how they can be prevented and treated. We also offer a rigorous training and mentorship program for the next generation of scientists and physicians who would like to dedicate their career to improving maternal health and child development through the prevention and treatment of birth defects. Find out how we can educate you, your staff, or your community.

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