CDC Sponsors to Help Doctors Reduce Birth Defects

By Amy DeGeer Roten

A few years ago, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identified a serious gap in quick access to databases for cross-referencing medications that potentially interfere or harm pregnancy.

The safety or risk profile for most medication interactions in pregnant women is either unknown or difficult to find. “Clinical trials don’t include pregnant women,” said Tad Crawford, RightAnswer Sales Director. Therefore, it is difficult for healthcare providers and women to weigh the risks and benefits of treatment options during pregnancy and lactation. “The issue was, the information from the databases was not finding its way into many doctors’ hands. We wanted to make sure they have it at their fingertips,” said Tad. “The CDC identified this as a problem and contacted the University of Washington who called on RightAnswer to initiate working work together to get this information into the hands of doctors so we can greatly reduce the risk of birth defects.”

A new technology and data delivery solution needed to be developed.

Closing the Information Gap

The ReproAnswer™ System, developed by Midland-based RightAnswer and the University of Washington, provides the solution. ReproAnswer System, funded with a Small Business Innovation Grants from the CDC, is a downloadable app that bridges this gap and supports healthcare providers as they assess medication risk with women of child-bearing age.

These developmental/reproductive toxicity databases provide risk information on prescription and over-the-counter medications, substance use, maternal infections and vaccines (such as coronavirus), and environmental and workplace exposures (such as ethylene oxide). The overarching goal is to decrease birth defects.

The infographic below contains key takeaways.

It’s Not Just for Doctors

“We also have a patient version of this that is free to the public. On the patient facing side, we have mother-to-baby fact sheets that are written for moms to help them understand medications and how they might interact with pregnancy. All they need to do is register and skip the free version for mother-to-baby information,” Tad said.

Medical professionals and moms-to-be can learn more at or reach out to


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