For our Participants

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and birth defects programs in many states are working together on this study to discover the causes of birth defects.  To do this, we need to speak with women who have babies without birth defects as well as women who have had a pregnancy affected by a birth defect.  We are talking to hundreds of women from each state in the study to find out what their pregnancies were like.  If you have been invited to take part in the study, we hope you will consider participating.  We believe you can help us to discover the causes of these birth defects through your answers to the questions we have developed and through the collection of DNA samples.

How are study participants selected?

Birth defects are a serious public health concern, and state laws allow each study site to collect information on pregnancies affected by a birth defect. This is how we find most women in the study. Women whose babies do not have birth defects were selected randomly from women who gave birth in the same area during the same year. These families are contacted to find out if they want to participate in the study.

If I have been selected to participate, what do I do?

If you have been selected to participate in BD-STEPS and are interested in participating, please first make sure we have the correct contact information for you. The packet you received should have information on how to send us your current address and phone number.

One to two weeks after you receive the packet, an interviewer will call you to set up a convenient time for the phone interview. She will make sure that you understand the most important points about the study, its risks, and benefits.

My baby doesn’t have a birth defect; why should I participate?

The answers provided by women who have babies with no birth defects (controls) will be compared to answers provided by women who have pregnancies affected by birth defects (cases). If case women report exposure to something more often than control women, this could mean that the exposure is related to the birth defect. An exposure can be something a person eats, a drug or medical treatment, or something used on the job.