Birth Defects Experts to Present Free Webinar on Opioids in Pregnancy Jan 24

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OTIS Teams Up with Sister Societies to Address Rising Opioid Abuse Trends in Developing Babies

Free Webinar

Free Webinar for Health Care Providers & Researchers

On an almost daily basis I take care of women struggling with opioid addiction or dependency in pregnancy and the post-partum period.

“On an almost daily basis I take care of women struggling with opioid addiction or dependency in pregnancy and the post-partum period.” Sarah Obican, MD, Maternal-Fetal Medicine Subspecialist at the University of South Florida, knows she’s not alone as the opioid epidemic rages on in America. “I actively screen patients in early pregnancy and see them on our antepartum units.” It’s a crisis she and other birth defects experts from the Organization of Teratology Information Specialists (OTIS) are trying to curb by offering the latest data surrounding opioid exposure in pregnancy and lactation during a free webinar on January 24, 2018 at 11a Pacific/2p Eastern.

“The Opioid Epidemic: Its Impact on Pregnancy and Breastfeeding” webinar is a joint collaboration with the National Society of Genetic Counselors (NSGC) and, in addition to OTIS, will include presenters representing the Teratology Society and the Society of Maternal-Fetal Medicine. The webinar will cover an overview of the association of opioid use in late pregnancy and the risk of Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS), the risk for malformations and adverse neurobehavioral effects in fetuses exposed to opioids in-utero, as well as the effects of opioid exposure on the breastfed infant. The webinar is free, aimed at health care providers and researchers, but registration is required at the following link:

“Being a part of the Utah Department of Health with access to its data, we are very much aware that overdoses and deaths from opioids have significantly increased over the past decade,” said Lynn Martinez, a teratogen information specialist with MotherToBaby Utah, an affiliate of the free service OTIS provides that answers the public’s questions about exposures during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Martinez, one of the webinar speakers, plans to address specific opioids clearly rising in popularity. “Fentanyl and buprenorphine have become more common exposures among those who contact us through MotherToBaby, so it’s important we take a closer look at what research is showing about their effects.”

Additionally, the risks from chronic use of opioids may not be the same as short term use, according to Beth Conover, APRN, CGC at the University of Nebraska Medical Center who is also one of the webinar presenters representing OTIS as well as the NSGC. “This is true for both pregnancy and breastfeeding,” she explained. “This is why it’s critical more health care providers recognize pregnancy risks seen with short-term and long-term use associated with opioid treatment in pregnancy,” she added.

The opioid webinar is expected to run approximately an hour and presenters will be available to answer questions from attendees.

More about OTIS

The Organization of Teratology Information Specialists (OTIS) is a professional scientific society made up of individuals engaged in assessing and evaluating risks to pregnancy and breastfeeding from environmental exposures. Members include, but are not limited to, specialists in the fields of: obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics, genetics, dysmorphology, perinatal epidemiology, teratology, behavioral teratology, pharmacy, genetic counseling, nursing, midwifery, maternal and child health, public health, and includes experts that provide MotherToBaby services and researchers that conduct MotherToBaby Pregnancy Studies. MotherToBaby is a suggested resource by many federal agencies including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). To be connected with a MotherToBaby expert, please call (866) 626-6847, text questions to (855) 999-3525 (standard messaging rates might apply, check with your carrier) or visit

Media Contact: Nicole Chavez, 619-368-3259,

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