Women's Views About Participating in Research While Pregnant

Anne Drapkin Lyerly, MD, MA; Emily E. Namey, MA; Beverly Gray, MD; Geeta Swamy, MD; Ruth R. Faden, PhD, MPH


IRB. 2012;34(4):1-8. 

In This Article

Key Considerations about Research in General

While participants in our study were limited to pregnant women who agreed to participate in an H1N1 vaccine trial, some nevertheless articulated reasons they might have opted not to participate in the vaccine study. A common concern centered on a reluctance to take on any excess risk to themselves or their fetus:

The only type of research I don't support is the kind that may hurt your baby … I don't support stuff like that. (V03)
I mean I think when it comes to pregnancy, I think if there had been anything that I wasn't really very reassured that it was very safe for myself and the baby, then I absolutely would've said no. I mean if it was truly kind of experimental, then I would definitely not be interested. I just don't think it's worth it. (V05)

Some women also were disinclined to participate in placebo-controlled studies, not wanting to "play around" with the uncertainty about whether they would receive an intervention perceived as beneficial:

I probably would not have participated if there'd been a placebo arm, because I wanted to know that I was getting active vaccine. Once I heard that there was no placebo arm, I was like, "Sign me up." (V08)

Finally, women expressed willingness to participate in interventions that did not involve a change in behavior or medication regimen:

If it was something that I was already currently doing and it wasn't a change in my current … behavior or anything like that, yeah absolutely. I wouldn't mind doing that. (V04)


Comments on Medscape are moderated and should be professional in tone and on topic. You must declare any conflicts of interest related to your comments and responses. Please see our Commenting Guide for further information. We reserve the right to remove posts at our sole discretion.