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Utah Pregnancy Riskline

When a question comes up about what medication is safe to take, or whether it's ok to color your hair during pregnancy, who do you ask? Well, in Utah, there is a resource that women, doctors and pharmacists can trust to give them the right answers. That resource is the Pregnancy Riskline.

Riskline counselors like take calls from expecting mothers, from doctors and  from pharmacists who are concerned about how medications, chemicals and other substances can affect an unborn baby.

“Most of our questions are about could and cough,” says Al Romeo, a Riskline counselor. “Is it safe to take Tylenol during pregnancy? Will my baby be OK if I take ibuprofen? Those types of things. We do get a fair amount of questions about some things that moms are a little bit worried about beyond their regular medications. They may be things like hair care products or painting when they're pregnant.”

The Riskline staff stays on top of the newest science and medications by meeting every week. Riskline nurses, doctors, and counselors are also tasked with training pharmacy students on the most common dangers, and most frequently-asked questions.

“Already I've learned many different resources that I can go to find the information when someone calls,” says Katy Ramsey, a pharmacy student training with the Riskline. “I've also learned that there's good information out there and there's bad information out there so as a pharmacist I'll take the knowledge that I've learned here and the knowledge of those resources with me.”

The Riskline counselors answer about 10,000 calls per year. Questions about using hair dye are common. Others require research and consultation.

“For example, we have questions about blood incompatibilities, things like that,” says Romeo. So what we do is we consult some of the different partners here. We have a partnership between the Utah Department of Health and the University of Utah, so we'll contact the pharmacist faculty up at the University or the genetic faculty and ask them different questions. We also go to the research, the different journal articles to find out the latest information on those medications before we cal back and give them that information.”

But regardless of the question, counselors remind all callers that there is a three percent chance of a birth defect for a normal pregnancy.

The Pregnancy Riskline does have a website but most of the information concerning exposures is not online because they feel it is important to get details about each woman’s exposure and current health condition before giving out information.

Visit the Pregnancy Riskline website

Call the Pregnancy Riskline at 1-800-822-2229