Multilevel Provider-Based Sampling for Recruitment of Pregnant Women and Mother-Newborn Dyads

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Objective: In 2010, the National Children’s Study launched 3 alternative recruitment methods to test possible improvements in efficiency compared with traditional household-based recruitment and participant enrollment. In 2012, a fourth method, provider-based sampling (PBS), tested a probability-based sampling of prenatal provider locations supplemented by a second cohort of neonates born at a convenience sample of maternity hospitals.

Methods: From a sampling frame of 472 prenatal care provider locations and 59 maternity hospitals, 49 provider and 7 hospital locations within or just outside 3 counties participated in study recruitment. During first prenatal care visits or immediately postdelivery at these locations, face-to-face contact was used to screen and recruit eligible women.

Results: Of 1450 screened women, 1270 were eligible. Consent rates at prenatal provider locations (62%–74% by county) were similar to those at birth locations (64%–77% by county). During 6 field months, 3 study centers enrolled a total prenatal cohort of 530 women (the majority in the first trimester) and during 2 months enrolled a birth cohort of an additional 320 mother-newborn dyads. As personnel became experienced in the field, the time required to enroll a woman in the prenatal cohort declined from up to 200 hours to 50 to 100 hours per woman recruited.

Conclusions: We demonstrated that PBS was feasible and operationally efficient in recruiting a representative cohort of newborns from 3 diverse US counties. Our findings suggest that PBS is a practical approach to recruit large pregnancy and birth cohorts across the United States.