The online version of this article (10.1186/s12884-017-1627-7) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Few data are available to guide biological sample collection around the time of birth for large-scale birth cohorts. We are designing a large UK birth cohort to investigate the role of infection and the developing immune system in determining future health and disease. We undertook a pilot to develop methodology for the main study, gain practical experience of collecting samples, and understand the acceptability of sample collection to women in late pregnancy.
Between February–July 2014, we piloted the feasibility and acceptability of collecting maternal stool, baby stool and cord blood samples from participants recruited at prolonged pregnancy and planned pre-labour caesarean section clinics at University College London Hospital. Participating women were asked to complete acceptability questionnaires.
Overall, 265 women were approached and 171 (65%) participated, with ≥1 sample collected from 113 women or their baby (66%). Women had a mean age of 34 years, were primarily of white ethnicity (130/166, 78%), and half were nulliparous (86/169, 51%). Women undergoing planned pre-labour caesarean section were more likely than those who delivered vaginally to provide ≥1 sample (98% vs 54%), but less likely to provide maternal stool (10% vs 43%). Pre-sample questionnaires were completed by 110/171 women (64%). Most women reported feeling comfortable with samples being collected from their baby (<10% uncomfortable), but were less comfortable about their own stool (19% uncomfortable) or a vaginal swab (24% uncomfortable).
It is possible to collect a range of biological samples from women around the time of delivery, and this was acceptable for most women. These data inform study design and protocol development for large-scale birth cohorts.
Additional file 1: Baby Biome Study Collection and processing protocol: samples at birth. (PDF 2102 kb)
Additional file 2: Pre-birth questionnaire, pilot study questionnaire given to all women who consented to participate prior to sample collection. (PDF 368 kb)
Medical Research Council. Maximising the value of UK population cohorts MRC strategic review of the largest UK population cohort studies. 2014. https://www.mrc.ac.uk/publications/browse/maximising-the-value-of-uk-population-cohorts/. Accessed 8 Jun 2017.
Ernst SA, Günther K, Frambach T, et al. Prenatal recruitment of participants for a birth cohort study including cord blood collection: results of a feasibility study in Bremen, Germany. Ger Med Sci GMS E-J. 2015;13:Doc04. 10.3205/000208.
- A pilot study to understand feasibility and acceptability of stool and cord blood sample collection for a large-scale longitudinal birth cohort
S. R. Bailey
C. L. Townsend
E. M. Riley
T. D. Lawley
A. J. Rodger
- BioMed Central
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