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New Online Service Helps Expectant Moms

Web site provides information about potential risk from exposure to medications, chemicals and other agents

SAN DIEGO, March 5 /PRNewswire/ -- Moms-to-be concerned about potential risks of taking cold medication or using certain cleaning products can now find helpful information online and over the phone.

A new Web site ( offering expectant moms a one-stop source for finding the latest information about the potential risks of exposure to drugs, chemicals and other harmful agents has been launched by the California Teratogen Information Service (CTIS). The field of Teratology studies the causes and biological processes leading to abnormal development and birth defects.

CTIS is a non-profit founded and directed by faculty and staff from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, and serving the entire state of California. CTIS has been providing pregnancy risk counseling via a confidential and no-cost Pregnancy Risk Information Line for the past 27 years. Experts at the toll-free number, 1-800-532-3749, field questions in both English and Spanish about exposure concerns to help pregnant and breastfeeding women and their health providers assess possible risk factors associated with harmful substances.

Most common substances that pregnant women encounter will not cause birth defects, but others might be harmful if taken in large doses and at a crucial time in pregnancy, explained Kenneth Lyons Jones, MD, medical director of CTIS, faculty member in the department of pediatrics at UC San Diego School of Medicine and a world-renowned research physician, noted for his pioneering work on fetal alcohol syndrome.

"The goal of CTIS is the elimination of preventable birth defects by promoting healthy pregnancies through education and research," said Jones. "As a companion to the CTIS telephone information line, this new Web site will provide basic information and helpful resources about pre- and perinatal exposures in order to help pregnant and breastfeeding women and their families make informed decisions."

The CTIS Pregnancy Risk Information Line and Web site are staffed by some of the world's leading experts in teratology, who understand how drugs and other agents can affect fetal development, according to Jones.

The new user-friendly site provides links for both patients and their physicians to the most current information about potentially harmful exposures - from illnesses and medications to alcohol, environmental toxins and hazardous occupational materials - before, during and after pregnancy. Also the interactive on-line Q & A Forum will allow users to connect and dialogue with others who share similar exposure concerns and experiences.

"With the launch of the CTIS Web site patients and physicians in California will have an easy and reliable way of getting answers to their questions," says Christina Chambers, PhD, MPH, CTIS Program Director and associate professor in the Departments of Pediatrics and Family and Preventive Medicine at UC San Diego School of Medicine. "This new online service serves as a clearinghouse for often complex medical information and is a referral hub to other vital resources."

For more information about CTIS and its free telephone and online services, call 1-800-532-3749 or log onto

    CONTACT:    Audrey Doherty/Jordan Cole

SOURCE California Teratogen Information Service
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