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. You can help us discover the causes of these birth defects through answering questions as well as allowing researchers to access already collected DNA samples and records of your reportable infectious disease history.

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, you will have received a packet in the mail from one of the BD-STEPS study sites listed below. The packet will contain a gift card. Mailings are conducted by Abt Global on behalf of the study sites, so the packet will have a Florida return address.

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. You will receive a call from the following number depending on what state you lived in while pregnant.

If you are interested in participating, please make sure we have your correct contact information. To update your contact information or if you have any questions, please feel free to call us at our toll-free number, 1-888-743-7324 or email us at

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.