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News Room: Press Releases

Free Healthline Answers Mom's Questions

Recent studies about caffeine and pregnancy have been making national headlines and raising a lot of questions for moms-to-be. Fortunately, South Jersey residents and their physicians have access to a reliable resource for questions about pregnancy risks. The Pregnancy Healthline (1-888-722-2903) is a free program operated by the Southern New Jersey Perinatal Cooperative in cooperation with Virtua Health. It offers one-on-one guidance and the latest medical research about pregnancy for expectant mothers, their families, and physicians.

"Every pregnancy has a three-to-five percent chance of developing a birth defect," says Ronald Librizzi, D.O., the director of the Pregnancy Healthline.

"But there are many ways you can protect your baby and keep from increasing that risk. That's why we created this service." The Pregnancy Healthline is a toll-free call-back service that gathers current information about pregnancy risks from comprehensive medical databases. All callers receive personalized reports that address their specific concerns, including:

    • Prescription medication
    • Infection
    • Chemicals
    • Pesticides
    • Cleaning agents
    • Cosmetics
    • Over-the-counter drugs
    • "Nutraceuticals" (herbal supplements/remedies)
    • Environmental exposure
    • Pre-pregnancy planning

"As a perinatologist, I can tell you it's a real challenge keeping up with all the latest science on pregnancy risks," says Librizzi. "The Pregnancy Healthline basically expands the reach of my practice."

The Pregnancy Healthline is staffed by an advanced practice nurse with years of experience. Every caller is given a complete and confidential interview to help identify potential pregnancy risks. Then, in a few days, the caller receives a HIPAA-compliant report from the Healthline. This information may be forwarded to the caller's doctor upon request.

Librizzi says the Pregnancy Healthline is also a valuable tool for pre-pregnancy planning.

"The most damage occurs when a pregnancy is exposed to harm during the first trimester," says Librizzi. "That's why pre-pregnancy planning is so important; although certain things—like alcohol and drugs—harm a baby at any stage of development.

"I would recommend strongly that families who are thinking of becoming pregnant contact the Pregnancy Healthline," says Librizzi.

"Parents today are bombarded with information. There are new studies published all the time on loads of things—herbal remedies, prescription medication, over-the-counter drugs. Then they sift through personal stories, folk wisdom, and urban myths. The Pregnancy Healthline is just another way for parents to help make sense of the overloaded culture of the Information Age. "It's nice to know that as a health professional, this resource is available to my patients for free," Librizzi says.

The Pregnancy Healthline is a toll-free call-back service that answers questions about pregnancy risks with up-to-date information from certified medical databases. It is designed especially for use by expectant parents, their families, and healthcare providers. Advanced practice nurse counselors create individualized reports about anything from environmental exposures to prescription medication to pre-pregnancy planning strategies. Most calls are returned within a few days, and reports arrive by mail. To access the service, call 1-888-722-2903. The Pregnancy Healthline is maintained in collaboration with Virtua Health.

The Southern New Jersey Perinatal Cooperative (SNJPC) is the state-licensed, non-profit, maternalchild health consortium serving the seven southernmost counties of New Jersey. SNJPC programs and services are dedicated to improving health outcomes for mothers and babies in South Jersey. For more information about the Cooperative or its services, call 856-665-6000 or visit

Article provided by
As one of New Jersey’s largest health systems, Virtua helps people be well, get well and stay well through a comprehensive range of health care services. Services are delivered through three health and wellness centers, three fitness centers, three acute care hospitals, primary and specialty physician practices with more than 240 physicians, urgent care centers, nine ambulatory surgery centers, home health services, two long-term care and rehabilitation centers, 12 paramedic units and a wide range of outpatient services. A leader in maternal and child health services, Virtua delivers more than 8,000 babies a year. Virtua also provides employment and wellness services to 1,700 businesses and corporations. An innovator in clinical and information technology such as electronic medical records, Virtua is recognized for its ground-breaking partnerships with GE Healthcare, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) and the Fox Chase Cancer Center. Virtua employs more than 8,700 people and has been honored as the #1 Best Place to Work in the Delaware Valley every year since 2007. It is the recipient of the Consumer Choice Award from the National Research Corporation. For more information, visit or