A teratogen is any medication, chemical, infectious disease or environmental agent that could interfere with the development of the fetus during pregnancy. The result may be loss of the pregnancy, a birth defect or pregnancy complications. Common teratogens include:

  • Prescribed or over-the-counter medications or vaccinations
  • Diseases or infections
  • Exposure in the workplace, at home or in the community to chemical agents such as paints, varnishes and pesticides
  • Exposure to physical agents, such as excessive heat or radiation
  • Excessive consumption of agents known or suspected of being harmful to the developing baby, such as alcohol, tobacco, caffeine, vitamins or illicit drugs

Teratogen Inquiry Service: MotherToBaby IN

To help avoid or address teratogenic damage to a fetus, Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health provides the MotherToBaby IN service. This is a telephone inquiry service, available to:

  • Physicians
  • Nurses
  • Midwives
  • Other health professionals caring for pregnant women
  • Women who are already pregnant
  • Women thinking about becoming pregnant

MotherToBaby IN provides central, up-to-date information from computerized sources, professional articles and expert consultants by simply calling 317.274.1071. Also available is lactation information about particular teratogenic agents. Phone calls will be answered by a genetic counselor, in consultation with Dr. Wilfredo Torres-Martinez or other geneticists in the Department of Medical and Molecular Genetics at the Indiana University Medical Center. There is no fee for this service.

What Information Do I Need to Provide?

When you call, the MotherToBaby IN coordinator will ask for the following information:

  • Exact name of the medication, drug, disease, type of X-ray or other agent of concern
  • Exact dose, if possible (how many tablets, what strength, how much alcohol, how many shots, how many X-rays)
  • Duration of the exposure (how many days medication was taken, how many times per week alcohol was consumed)
  • Date(s) during which exposure took place
  • Last menstrual period and current gestation of the patient
  • Any family history of birth defects or genetic disease
  • Maternal conditions and/or any major complications in the pregnancy

MotherToBaby IN Service Providers

Wilfredo Torres, M.D. 
Clinical Assistant Professor of Medical and Molecular Genetics

David D. Weaver, M.D. 
Director of the Indiana Teratogen Information Service
Professor of Medical and Molecular Genetics

MotherToBaby IN Service Hours

Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Contact the coordinator at 317.274.1071 for further information.