Maternal and Child Health Journal

, Volume 16, Issue 2, pp 430–438 | Cite as

Recruitment of Healthy First-Trimester Pregnant Women: Lessons From the Chemicals, Health & Pregnancy Study (CHirP)

  • Glenys M. WebsterEmail author
  • Kay Teschke
  • Patricia A. Janssen


To describe and evaluate recruitment techniques used to enroll 152 healthy pregnant women fewer than 15 weeks gestation into a prospective study of environmental chemical exposure during pregnancy. Posters, a website, online and print advertising, recruitment emails, media coverage, recruitment from clinic waiting rooms, networking within the pregnancy community and presenting a study booth at baby “trade shows” were used to advertise the study. Participants had to meet a strict set of eligibility criteria, and were asked to donate two-second-trimester blood samples, complete two questionnaires, have samples of air, dust, lint and tap water collected from their homes, and donate a cord blood sample at delivery. Over 17 months, 171 women enrolled (49% of initial contacts, and 99% of all eligible women) and 152 women completed the study (89% retention). Total recruitment costs were approximately $400 Cdn per final participant. Posters, study booth presentations and online advertising generated the most inquiries about the study. Word of mouth, referral from another study and direct email were the most cost-effective strategies. Not surprisingly, the recruited study population was less ethnically diverse, more affluent and more educated than the background population of pregnant women in Vancouver. A combination of passive and active recruitment techniques were successful for recruiting healthy women in roughly the first trimester of pregnancy (<15 weeks gestation). While a convenience sample of women is suitable for our study questions, additional strategies may be required to recruit a more representative pregnant population in future studies.


Recruitment First trimester Pregnant Cohort Biomonitoring 



We thank Health Canada, the BC Medical Services Foundation, the BC Environmental and Occupational Health Research Network, and the UBC Centre for Health and Environment Research for research funding, and the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research for supporting GMW’s work. We also thank Sara Leckie for her help with participant recruitment.

Supplementary material

10995_2010_739_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (292 kb)
Supplemental Digital Content 1: Recruitment poster (PDF 291 kb)
10995_2010_739_MOESM2_ESM.pdf (303 kb)
Supplemental Digital Content 2: Recruitment flyer (PDF 302 kb)
10995_2010_739_MOESM3_ESM.jpg (700 kb)
Supplemental Digital Content 3: Photo of the CHirP study recruitment booth (JPEG 699 kb)
10995_2010_739_MOESM4_ESM.doc (189 kb)
Supplemental Digital Content 4: Consent form for the main part of the CHirP study (DOC 189 kb)
10995_2010_739_MOESM5_ESM.doc (176 kb)
Supplemental Digital Content 5: Consent form for the optional tissue banking part of the CHirP study (DOC 175 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Glenys M. Webster
    • 1
    Email author
  • Kay Teschke
    • 1
    • 2
  • Patricia A. Janssen
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Environmental HealthUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  2. 2.School of Population and Public HealthUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada

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