About

Improving the Health of Moms and Babies

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 by mom’s exposures if she is breastfeeding. 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 women will become pregnant worldwide. Only in partnership with moms, dads, 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 woman’s health before she becomes 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.

 

Patient Care

Clinical services for patients with birth defects, serving families in San Diego County and Tijuana, Mexico. Read More

Research

A local, national and international research program focused on better understanding the origins and causes of birth defects and developmental disabilities. Read More

Professional Training

Educational opportunities for undergraduate, graduate, medical and postdoctoral students, faculty and fellows in pediatrics, epidemiology, health behavior, pharmacy, and other specialties. Read More

Community Education

Educating the public about prenatal exposures and exposures during breastfeeding and their impact on child development and health. Read More
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