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Motherisk Helpline
1-877-439-2744 (Toll-free)
416-813-6780 (Toronto and GTA)

Alcohol and Substance

About Motherisk: Our Mandate

The Motherisk Program at The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Ontario, Canada is a clinical, research and teaching program dedicated to antenatal drug, chemical, and disease risk counselling. It is affiliated with the University of Toronto. Created in 1985, Motherisk provides evidence-based information and guidance about the safety or risk to the developing fetus or infant, of maternal exposure to drugs, chemicals, diseases, radiation and environmental agents.

Our mandate is to provide authoritative information and guidance to pregnant or lactating patients and their health care providers regarding the fetal risks associated with drug, chemical, infection, disease and radiation exposure(s) during pregnancy.

To research unanswered questions on the safety of drugs, chemicals, infection, disease and radiation during pregnancy and lactation, and maintain a vital training and educational program in the area of reproductive and developmental toxicology at the undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate levels.

Risk Management - A fact of life
Nearly half of all pregnancies in North America are unplanned. That means that many women will take drugs without knowing they are pregnant and their unborn children will be exposed to those drugs and other potential hazards before they see the light of day.

Recognizing that we live in an imperfect world and that "risk" is a fact of life, Motherisk advocates the following:

Point One
When it comes to safeguarding the health and human potential of unborn children, it is everyone's responsibility to apply all available resources to informed risk management.

Point Two
Women have a right to rational drug therapy in pregnancy. Women's health issues should not be trivialized by unproved theories and out-dated attitudes.

Point Three
The medical community and drug industry cannot be complacent about voluntary abortions caused by misinformation and medical mismanagement.

Point Four
If prevention is the best medicine, then knowledge and education are the primary, active ingredients.

Much of the damage inflicted on children during fetal life or soon after birth by drugs, chemicals and infections can be prevented through public education, counselling and research. If the medical community, industry and government take action based on currently available information, we can rescue generations of children from lives of illness and wasted potential.

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Motherisk is a proud affiliate of MotherToBaby, an information service of the non-profit Organization of Teratology Information Specialists (OTIS) across North America.

* - "MOTHERISK - Treating the mother - Protecting the unborn" is an official mark of The Hospital for Sick Children. All rights reserved.

The information on this website is not intended as a substitute for the advice and care of your doctor or other health-care provider. Always consult your doctor if you have any questions about exposures during pregnancy and before you take any medications.

Copyright © 1999-2018 The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids). All rights reserved.

The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) is a health-care, teaching and research centre dedicated exclusively to children; affiliated with the University of Toronto. For general inquires please call: 416-813-1500.

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