The participants of the Prenatal Health Project were recruited in ultrasound facilities in London, Ontario from 2002-2005. We recruited women who were between 12-20 weeks of a singleton pregnancy who resided in the city of London or in the immediately-surrounding rural area of London-Middlesex. Initially, study participants completed a telephone interview within one week of recruitment. This interview asked questions about many aspects of their lives, including: their age, marital status, family structure, their social supports and stresses, their medical status and their food and nutrition intake. With their prior consent, we also gathered neonatal health information from their delvery room charts. There were a total of 2357 study participants at this stage.
A sub-sample of 739 participants were re-interviewed when their child was less than one year old. This was what researchers call a "convenience sample"; there was nothing in particular that was different about the people chosen for interview other than the fact that their child was <1 year old when we conducted the interviews. Other participants were not approached because their children had aged past one year at the time we decided to do a follow-up.
Subsequently, all study participants were approached to participate in another wave of data collection while their children were 2-5 years old. We were able to establish contact with 1607 of the original study participants willing to participate in this wave of data collection. At this time, we asked some questions about current family structure, supports and stresses. As well, we collected data on the mother's and childrens' health and health service use.
Our findings to date are important for understanging the factors that contribute to children's optimal health and development. The success of this study has hinged upon the commitment and contributions of the mothers who volunteered for this study, who are the people who know their children best and therefore can tell us all about the factors in their environment and their child's health. We look forward to contacting these mothers again, when their children are adolescents, to continue to add to our important findings. Key study findings are reported elsewhere on this website.