Information & Counseling Services
More Than Just Information
At the Center for Better Beginnings, we believe that all women and their healthcare providers deserve to have access to evidence-based, up-to-date information that can help them make important decisions during pregnancy and breastfeeding. We power access to this information through our MotherToBaby California program. A pioneer in the field, our Center’s co-director Dr. Kenneth Lyons Jones started MotherToBaby California (originally called the California Teratogen Information Service) in 1978 at UC San Diego to help people navigate the complex and sometimes contradictory information that is available on the safety of a wide variety of exposures. Nearly 40 years later, our information service is going strong – and is more needed than ever. Our team speaks directly to concerned individuals about environmental exposures and provides monitoring, surveillance and tracking of potential risks that women and their babies have been exposed to during pregnancy and while breastfeeding.
Navigate Your Health with an Expert
We help women, families and their health care providers address health concerns related to the safety of medications, chemicals, recreational substances, and other environmental agents during pregnancy and breastfeeding through our free risk-assessment information service, MotherToBaby California. An affiliate of the largest network of birth defects prevention experts in the country, the non-profit Organization of Teratology Information Specialists (OTIS), our service is unique in that it is the earliest beginnings of what would eventually become the North America-wide MotherToBaby network. It is also one of the few MotherToBaby services that incorporates research into its mission to provide moms and providers with the information they need.
As a suggested resource by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Office of Women’s Health, MotherToBaby provides unbiased information about the safety of a wide variety of exposures during pregnancy and breastfeeding. The service is free, confidential, and offered in Spanish and English by phone, email or live chat. Our California specialists answer questions from those residing in Alaska, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, and the US territories of American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands.
When you contact MotherToBaby California, our staff will evaluate current information available on the exposure of interest and translate this information into a summary that you can use to make a more informed treatment decision. The MotherToBaby website also has over 130 fact sheets in both English and Spanish that are designed to give you an overview of important exposures in a clear, easy-to-read format. These are perfect for quick individual reference or to use in the community as handouts for health fairs, waiting rooms, and community events.
Whether you are pregnant, planning a pregnancy, breastfeeding, or a healthcare provider treating these populations, at some point you will have questions about the safety of something in your environment. When you do, we’ll be there.