Petition to Save MotherToBaby Utah / Pregnancy Risk Line
MotherToBaby Utah’s Pregnancy Risk Line just marked its 35th year of service. The program, known by many names over the years, Pregnancy Risk Line, MotherToBaby and even 801-FAT-BABY, is a joint project of the Utah Department of Health and the University of Utah’s Department of Pediatrics, www.MotherToBaby.Utah.gov. The service has answered hundreds of thousands of questions from Utah’s pregnant and breastfeeding moms, their families, friends and health care providers. Using telephone, texting, chatting and emails, MotherToBaby Utah’s Pregnancy Risk Line (MTB UT/PRL) responds to queries about the use of medicines/drugs, chemicals, maternal illnesses and other exposures during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Seventy-five to eighty percent of those asking questions are consumers and the rest are doctors, nurse midwives, pharmacists, substance abuse counselors and other health care providers. Clinicians rely on the MTB/PRL to provide their patients with the most accurate and up to date information, because other sources of this information are, at best, misleading and, at worst, completely inaccurate and alarming.

MTB UT/PRL, the regional program serving Utah, responds to 6,000 to 10,000 questions each year. Over its 35 years of operation, nearly 300,000 questions have been answered. MTB UT/PRL is one of the oldest and largest programs of its kind in the US.

MTB UT/PRL has the ability to prevent the use of things that can harm an unborn or breastfed baby. Accurate information about exposures can prevent bad and costly outcomes like abortions of otherwise wanted pregnancies, miscarriages, premature deliveries, low birth weight babies, birth defects or toxic effects on a breastfed infant, decisions to stop or avoid treatment for illnesses and chronic conditions for mothers, and decisions to unnecessarily avoid or interrupt breastfeeding.

Because of changing priorities of the program’s funding source at the Utah Department of Health, the Title V Maternal and Child Health Block grant from the federal Maternal and Child Health Bureau, MTB UT/PRL may be losing most of its funding in October 2019, approximately $250,000. ( https://mchb.tvisdata.hrsa.gov/uploadedfiles/StateSubmittedFiles/2019/UT/UT_TitleV_PrintVersion.pdf) The loss of this program can result in increased poor outcomes to unborn and breastfed babies, leading to higher costs for families and for the health care system across Utah.

Teratogen Information Services (TISs), including MTB UT/PRL, have highly-trained employees, save lives, save money, are cost effective, and should be part of the public health system in each state.
(https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17184969 , https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14960911) MTB UT/PRL is an internationally-respected program and one of only 16 programs in North America, as part of the professional Organization of Teratology Information Specialists and its service arm MotherToBaby, www.MotherToBaby.org.

MTB UT/PRL is asking those who are users of the program or who are interested in preventing birth defects, prematurity, and abortions to sign this petition to save funding for MTB UT/PRL. Organizations willing to partner with or sponsor MTB UT/PRL can also provide information through the petition. Our goal is to raise $250,000 from partner organizations to keep MTB UT/PRL operating past October 2019.

Thank you for your help in improving the lives of mothers and children in Utah.

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