Skip to main content


The Center for Better Beginnings at UC San Diego’s Division of Environmental Science and Health recognizes the importance of education as a powerful mechanism for change. We work daily to empower healthcare providers, families and the general public with important health information regarding preventable birth defects and exposures during pregnancy and chest/breastfeeding. 

Free Information & Counseling Services

We offer women, families and their health care providers free and evidenced-based information on the safety of medications, chemicals, recreational substances, and other environmental agents during pregnancy and chest/breastfeeding through our free risk-assessment information service, MotherToBaby California. As a suggested resource by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Office of Women’s Health, MotherToBaby provides unbiased information about the safety of a wide variety of exposures during pregnancy and chest/breastfeeding.

Visit Website


Public Workshops

Our educational in-service workshops bring you expertly crafted content based on evidence-based, up-to-date information that is relevant to your needs.

Each workshop is developed and led by experienced trainers in maternal health and child development and is tailored for each individual audience. We’ve conducted workshops for WIC clinics, child welfare workers, imprisoned women, military populations, and more.


Professional Training

The Center for Better Beginnings provides professional training to medical fellows and pre- and post-doctoral research scholars in the fields of dysmorphology, genetics, epidemiology and teratology. Our faculty are actively involved in a teaching program that includes undergraduate students, graduate students, medical students, medical residents and fellows, and postdoctoral students.

Learn More


Community Awareness & Advocacy

The Institute for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Discovery (IFASDD) organizes a public awareness campaign for the Center for Better Beginnings that is dedicated to reducing preventable birth defects by promoting alcohol-free pregnancies. By increasing our community’s understanding of how prenatal alcohol exposure affects a developing baby, we hope to eliminate Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD). IFASDD also house the Southern California affiliate of FASD UNITED: The National Voice on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders to provide support and services to families who have loved ones affected by a FASD.

Visit Website