Improving the Health of Families
The Center for Better Beginnings at UC San Diego is a medical division of the Department of Pediatrics. We bring together multiple specialty programs that work together to promote maternal health and child development. Running throughout our work is the mission to advance the identification, prevention, and treatment of preventable birth defects.
Pregnancy is typically a 40-week journey, characterized by rapid fetal development. During this time, a pregnancy is susceptible to multiple outside influences. Even after entering into the world, a baby’s development can continue to be influenced a parent’s exposures if they are chestfeeding. We examine how maternal and infant health can be impacted by the conditions, exposures and treatments a woman is exposed to during pregnancy and while breastfeeding.
By the time you count to 10 more than 60 people will become pregnant worldwide. Only in partnership with parents, health care providers, and community and government leaders can we improve the health of our future generations. Our Center acts as a central hub to bring these key players together. Our focus is on a person’s health before they become pregnant, during pregnancy and childbirth, and during lactation to explore how maternal and other environmental exposures impact a baby’s development.
The Center for Better Beginnings focuses on four major areas of maternal and infant health:
(1) clinical care of patients with birth defects and developmental disabilities;
(2) conducting research to better understand the causes, prevention and treatment of birth defects and developmental disabilities;
(3) teaching future generations of professionals in the fields of epidemiology, pediatrics, dysmorphology, genetics, pharmacology, and health behavior; and
(4) educating the public about prenatal exposures and exposures during breastfeeding and their impact on child development and health.
Threaded throughout these four major focus areas is our dedication to reducing disparities in the field of maternal and child health.