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Salt Lake City — As Mother’s Day approaches, the Utah Department of Health (UDOH) and University of Utah collaborative program, Pregnancy Risk Line, introduce MotherToBaby UT, a name added to Pregnancy Risk Line, the statewide counseling service that connects experts in the field of birth defects research and pharmacy with health care providers and moms.
"Our service has been providing information over the phone for nearly 30 years,” said John Carey, MD, MotherToBaby medical director and pediatrician at the University of Utah. “Most obstetric, pediatric, and family practice providers, as well as pharmacists, are aware of the service. We believe the name MotherToBaby will make it clearer that, along with pregnancy, we also answer questions about medicines and other exposures for breastfeeding moms.”
“It’s often hard for moms to find reliable information about the risks of medications, alcohol, chemicals, beauty products, infections, and other exposures during pregnancy or while breastfeeding, especially online,” said Lynn Martinez, program coordinator. “There is a lot of information out there, but it’s very often incorrect. Now more than ever mothers need reliable information.”
Carey explains the need for counseling, saying approximately 50 percent of women report taking at least one medication during pregnancy. “The average woman doesn’t find out she’s pregnant until she’s at least five or six weeks along. That means a woman could have been consuming alcohol or taking medications during that time without knowing she’s pregnant. She then finds herself deeply concerned about what it might mean for her developing baby. MotherToBaby staff can be a reassuring source for moms,” she said.
MotherToBaby UT is an affiliate of the international non-profit Organization of Teratology Information Specialists (OTIS), a professional society that supports and contributes to worldwide initiatives for education and research into non-inherited birth defects and the effects of medications on the breastfed infant.
MotherToBaby affiliates are recommended resources by many agencies, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and are dedicated to providing evidence-based information to mothers, health care professionals, and the general public. Anyone living in North American can connect with MotherToBaby toll-free through its phone counseling service at 1 (866) 626-6847.
“In addition to my primary health care providers, MotherToBaby UT offered me an added layer of support by letting me know if the medication I took could get into my breast milk and if my baby was likely to have side effects or not,” said Katy Blommer, mother of two who called the service during both pregnancies and while she breastfeed. “What a relief this service has been for me. After talking to the staff, I felt informed and empowered to making smart decisions about my health,” she added.
Find more information about MotherToBaby UT at http://health.utah.gov/prl/.