New center provides peace of mind for mothers
By Patsi Lowe
You’re pregnant! And you have just been told by your doctor that your blood pressure is dangerously high! Or let’s say you are a new breastfeeding mom suffering from postpartum depression, or perhaps it is just a matter of battling a terrible cold that is keeping you from getting the rest you so desperately need to be able to care for your family. You have just joined a growing number of women whose health and peace of mind is in jeopardy. Naturally, you are worried that any medication you might take for your condition could endanger your pregnancy or bring harm to your baby through your breast milk.
It is estimated that 15 percent or more of the four million pregnant women in this country each year will use antidepressants, anticonvulsants, antihypertensives, and numerous other medications during their pregnancy and the time they will be breastfeeding their new babies. If these women, for whatever reasons, feel the need to research the safety of their medications in relation to their infants, their resources today are very limited, even on the ever popular internet, but that is about to change. Peace of mind for these mothers is just around the corner and is as simple as a phone call.
The Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center at Amarillo is establishing an Infant Risk Center, to address the need for more available medical information. Located in the heart of the medical complex at 1400 Wallace Blvd., this new center, an affiliate of the Laura W. Bush Institute for Women’s Health, will provide a national source of information safeguarding mothers and their babies from the harmful effects of medications during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
In addition to offering answers to mothers’ questions through direct phone banks, this center will also serve as a website and online database to be used by every major university in the USA, offering the latest research and information on the subject. Most importantly, in the face of all the new drugs that enter the market every day, it will advise physicians and other healthcare professionals with accurate and current information on alternative medications to protect pregnant women and babies.
It is quite an honor for Texas, and especially Amarillo, to be chosen as the location for this important national resource. It is even more prestigious that Amarillo’s Thomas W. Hale, Ph. D., Professor of Pediatrics and Assistant Dean of Research, has been appointed Executive Director of the new Infant Risk Center. Dr. Hale is considered somewhat of a “guru” in the area of medications and their effects on pregnancy. His books and publications on the subject have been translated into numerous languages throughout the world.
In a recent speech at a fundraiser in Amarillo to benefit the center, Dr. Hale, when explaining the impact of the new center on healthcare, reminded the gathering of a well known quote, “If you wish to experience peace, provide it for another.” And then added “That’s what this center means...peace of mind for mothers.”