What We’re Studying

The data we collect from volunteers in the study, officially known as the “1,000 Woman Cohort,” will help us answer three big questions:

1. Can the cervix tell us when a woman may go into labor too soon?

We want to know how the cervix changes during pregnancy. The cervix is the opening at the top of the vagina that allows a baby to be delivered. During study visits, doctors will look at how the cervix changes from the hard, closed state at the beginning of pregnancy, to the soft, open state before delivery.

To do this, doctors will take pictures of the cervix during each vaginal exam to learn how this change happens.

2. How does a mother’s sleep affect her unborn baby?

We’d like to learn how sleep patterns change during pregnancy, so we’re asking pregnant women to wear activity trackers (like a Fitbit) at all times and to fill out surveys about their sleep habits during study visits. At each visit, women will turn in their activity trackers and receive a new one.

Doctors will also use saliva to test for changes in hormones once each trimester.

3. What happens to the uterus during pre-term labor?

At about 20 weeks, women identified as high-risk for pre-term labor may be asked to join a second, but related, study that focuses on the uterus.

Women participating in this other study will have magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans, which are safe for moms and babies, taken three times during the later half of pregnancy.

During labor, the mother will wear electrode strips over her belly to measure the contractions of the uterus.