Media Advisory: BDRP Past President Launches First COVID-19 in Pregnancy Study

March 23, 2020

LA JOLLA, CA –A new study conducted by birth defects research experts from the non-profit Organization of Teratology Information Specialists (OTIS) launches to examine the short and long-term effects of the novel COVID-19 virus in pregnancy and breastfeeding. The observational study will consist of phone calls over the course of volunteers’ pregnancies and post-delivery, and/or breastmilk samples, as well as a release of medical records related to the pregnancy and the infant’s development.

OTIS is the scientific non-profit society that provides the no-cost MotherToBaby information service and enrolls women through the MotherToBaby Pregnancy Studies. OTIS/MotherToBaby is the Society for Birth Defects Research and Prevention’s sister society.

“Women and their health care providers need answers as quickly as possible regarding the effects of COVID-19 during pregnancy and while breastfeeding,” said the Principal Investigator, Christina Chambers, PhD, MPH, OTIS/MotherToBaby president and professor of pediatrics at UC San Diego. Dr. Chambers is a BDRP Past President as well. “We know that pregnant and breastfeeding moms are contracting COVID-19, but the fact of the matter is that we know very little about its short and long-term effects on a developing baby,” she added. “We hope pregnant women see the importance in helping the world understand this novel virus and consider volunteering for the study.” 

The study is open to pregnant and breastfeeding women in the United States and Canada with known or suspected COVID-19 infection. The MotherToBaby Pregnancy Studies Research Center is located at the University of California San Diego.

Pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers can enroll in the study at the following link or by calling MotherToBaby Pregnancy Studies at (877) 311-8972.

Health care providers can refer pregnant and breastfeeding patients with known or suspected COVID-19 infection at the following link or by calling MotherToBaby Pregnancy Studies at (877) 311-8972.

More about OTIS and MotherToBaby

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 learn more about ongoing MotherToBaby Pregnancy Studies, call (877) 311-8972, email or visit

The study launched March 23, 2020. Interviews with Christina Chambers, PhD, MPH are now being scheduled. Interested media, please call 619-368-3259 or email

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