Cartwright K, Mahoney L, Ayers S, Rabe H Parents' perceptions of their infants' participation in randomized controlled trials. J Obstet Gynecol Neonatal Nurs. 2011; 40:(5)555-65

De Mauro SB, Cairnie J, D'Ilario J, Kirpalani H, Schmidt B Honesty, trust, and respect during consent discussions in neonatal clinics. Pediatrics. 2014; 134:(1)e1-3

Golec L, Gibbens S, Dunn MS Informed consent in the NICU setting: an ethically optimal model for research solicitation. J Perinatol. 2004; 24:783-91

Hoehn K, Wernovsky G, Rychik J, Gaynor J, Spray T, Feudtner C, Nelson R What factors are important to parents making decisions about neonatal research?. Arch Dis Child Fetal Neonatal Ed. 2005; 90:(3)F267-9

Jones C, Pollock L, Barnett S M, Battersby A, Kampmann B Specific antibodies against vaccine-preventable infections: a mother-infant cohort study. BMJ Open. 2013; 3:(4)

Jones C, Pollock L, Barnett S M, Battersby A, Kampmann B The relationship between concentration of specific antibody at birth and subsequent response to primary immunization. Vaccine. 2014; 32:(8)996-1002

McKechnie L, Gill AB Consent for neonatal research. Arch Dis Child Fetal Neonatal Ed. 2006; 91:(5)F374-6

Mason SA, Allmark PJ Obtaining informed consent to neonatal randomized controlled trials: interviews with parents and clinicians in the Euricon study. Lancet. 2000; 356:2045-51

Morely CJ, Lau R, Davis PG What do parents think about enrolling their premature babies in several research studies?. Arch Dis Child Fetal Neonatal Ed. 2005; 90:F225-8

Sammons HM, Atkinson M, Choonara I, Stephenson T What motivates British parents to consent for research? A questionnaire study. BMC Pediatrics. 2007; 7

Shilling V, Williamson PR, Hickey H, Sowden E, Beresford MW, Smyth RL, Young B Communication about Children's clinical trials as observed and experienced: qualitative study of parents and practitioners. PLoS ONE. 2011; 6:(7)

van Stuijvenberg M, Suur MH, de Vos S, Tjiang GCH, Steyerberg EW, Derksen-Lubsen G, Moll HA Informed consent, parental awareness and reasons for participating in a randomized controlled study. Arch Dis Child. 1998; 79:120-5

Wendler D, Jenkins T Children's and their parents' views on facing research risks for the benefit of others. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2008; 162:(1)9-14

Woolfall K, Shilling V, Hickey H, Smyth RL, Sowden E, Williamson PR, Young B Parents' agendas in paediatric clinical trial recruitment are different from researchers' and often remain unvoiced: a qualitative study. PLoS ONE. 2013; 8:(7)

Maternal attitudes towards participation in a mother–baby research study

02 February 2015
7 min read
Volume 23 · Issue 2


Maternal attitudes to participation in an observational research study were assessed using a structured self-administered questionnaire. The study involved collecting blood samples from mothers and infants after birth and at 5 months postpartum to analyse the concentration of specific antibodies against vaccine preventable diseases. The most common reason for study participation was a desire to further scientific knowledge (n=29; 44%); a smaller number were motivated by the benefits of study participation for their baby (n=11; 17%). Most mothers were not upset, or only a little upset, by blood sampling from their newborn; only a minority found it very upsetting. Most women expressed that they had derived some benefit from study participation as they were reminded when their babies' vaccines were due. This study has shown that participation in a study involving blood sampling of newborn babies was acceptable to participating women and this may encourage health professionals to consider postpartum mothers and neonates as candidates for inclusion in research studies.

Research involving young infants is essential to derive investigational and therapeutic innovations to benefit this group. However, there is often a reluctance on the part of health professionals to enrol neonates in research studies that involve interventions such as blood sampling due to a perceived maternal reluctance to participate (Mason et al, 2000). Parents have the right to participate in research, but they must have detailed information about the research study in order to exercise this right. Woolfall et al (2013) observed that the main factors that contributed to a decision about research participation included the clinical benefit that the child might derive balanced against the practicalities of participation and potential for harm. As well as considering the implications for their child, altruism and desire for the collective good are also motivating factors for parents, as long as the hypothetical risk to their own child is small (Hoehn et al, 2005; Sammons et al, 2007; Wendler and Jenkins, 2008; Woolfall, 2013). However, there is a paucity of literature on parental reactions towards research involving healthy newborn infants. In order to understand the acceptability of our research to participants and ensure patient and public involvement in the study (PPI), a questionnaire was administered at the end of participation in the research project. The study aimed to investigate the motivating factors that influenced participation in a mother-infant study and how women felt about blood being collected from themselves and their infants.

Register now to continue reading

Thank you for visiting British Journal of Midwifery and reading some of our peer-reviewed resources for midwives. To read more, please register today. You’ll enjoy the following great benefits:

What's included

  • Limited access to our clinical or professional articles

  • New content and clinical newsletter updates each month