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 website (www.ctispregnancy.org) 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.  “The goal of CTIS is the elimination of preventable birth defects by promoting healthy pregnancies through education and research,” said Kenneth Lyons Jones, MD, medical director of CTIS.  “As a companion to the CTIS telephone information line, this new website 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 website 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.”

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