More about the our study

Everyone experiences stress or anxiety from time to time, and sometimes these feelings can help us to overcome challenges. For example, the stress that we feel before a job interview helps motivate us to do well. However, too much stress and anxiety can cause us feel overwhelmed or unable to carry on.

 

Pregnant women are faced with many decisions during pregnancy and this can sometimes be stressful. In addition to this, the current COVID-19 pandemic has added a lot of uncertainty to people's lives. As researchers we are interested in how different amounts of stress and anxiety during pregnancy affects the well-being of the mother and baby. Evidence seems to suggest that a bit of stress is okay and can positively influence the baby's development. But higher amounts of stress and anxiety during pregnancy might cause the opposite effect. We don't know the answer to this question yet, and that is why we want to study pregnancy and well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Your participation in our study will help us to learn more about how stress and anxiety affect pregnant women and their babies. We hope that our results can help us find ways to help pregnant women manage both their mental and physical well being to ensure the health of both mother and baby. 

Why study stress and anxiety?

What does the study involve?

Pregnant women who agree to participate, will be asked to fill out questionnaires at several time points: during pregnancy, after delivery, and in the first year of their baby’s life. The initial questionnaire will require approximately 45 minutes to complete and the follow up questionnaires about 5  to 10 minutes.  

In optional follow-up studies, we are also hoping to collect biological samples such as:

1) A hair sample: To measure stress hormones at different time points during your pregnancy

2) Stool (poop) samples: To show us how stress affects the "good bacteria" living in your intestine

3) A urine sample: To measure how stress affects certain components in your urine 

 

Since partners also are tending to get left out of the pregnancy process i.e. not being allowed to attend scans, only being allowed in the delivery room at a certain time point, we have also created a partner questionnaire that will be emailed to you 3 months postpartum so your partner has the chance to share their experiences. 

Who are we hoping to study?

We invite pregnant women from all walks of life across the United Kingdom, to help us by becoming part of our study. Every person has a unique story and experiences that can contribute to our study and provide new insight into the ways that stress during the COVID-19 affects pregnancy and childhood health outcomes. It is our hope to enroll 2500 women from across the UK and want to thank you in advance for considering becoming a participant!