• Journal Article

Design and Conduct of an Internet-Based Preconception Cohort Study in North America: Pregnancy Study Online

Citation

Wise, L. A., Rothman, K., Mikkelsen, E. M., Stanford, J. B., Wesselink, A. K., McKinnon, C., ... Hatch, E. E. (2015). Design and Conduct of an Internet-Based Preconception Cohort Study in North America: Pregnancy Study Online. Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology, 29(4), 360-371. DOI: 10.1111/ppe.12201

Abstract

BACKGROUND: We launched the Boston University Pregnancy Study Online (PRESTO) to assess the feasibility of carrying out an Internet-based preconception cohort study in the US and Canada. METHODS: We recruited female participants age 21-45 and their male partners through Internet advertisements, word of mouth, and flyers. Female participants were randomised with 50% probability to receive a subscription to FertilityFriend.com (FF), a web-based programme that collects real-time data on menstrual characteristics. We compared recruitment methods within PRESTO, assessed the cost-efficiency of PRESTO relative to its Danish counterpart (Snart-Gravid), and validated retrospectively reported date of last menstrual period (LMP) against the FF data. RESULTS: After 99 weeks of recruitment (2013-15), 2421 women enrolled; 1384 (57%) invited their male partners to participate, of whom 693 (50%) enrolled. Baseline characteristics were balanced across randomisation groups. Cohort retention was similar among those randomised vs. not randomised to FF (84% vs. 81%). At study enrolment, 56%, 22%, and 22% couples had been trying to conceive for /=6 months, respectively. The cost per subject enrolled was $146 (2013 US$), which was similar to our companion Danish study and half that of a traditional cohort study. Among FF users who conceived, >97% reported their LMP on the PRESTO questionnaire within 1 day of the LMP recorded via FF. CONCLUSIONS: Use of the Internet as a method of recruitment and follow-up in a North American preconception cohort study was feasible and cost-effective