Centre de recherche
Friday, October 16 2020
Press release

CONCEPTION: we need you!

Large study measuring the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on pregnant women and their newborns is recruiting participants

MONTRÉAL, October 16, 2020 – The large research project called CONCEPTION aimed at understanding the impact of COVID-19 on pregnant women and newborns is calling out for participants.

This significant initiative bringing together an international, multicentric scientific team from Canada, France and the United States, directed by Dr. Anick Bérard, CHU Sainte-Justine Research Centre researcher and full professor in the Université de Montréal pharmacy faculty, is launching an appeal to women who are or where pregnant during COVID-19, whether or not they contracted COVID-19, to take part in a broad study that will provide a valuable tool for understanding the consequences of the upheavals associated with the pandemic.

The researchers intend to recruit at least 5,000 participants from several countries and Canadian provinces, which should allow them to construct a comparative portrait of the consequences of public health decisions and changes in the provision of healthcare during the peri- and post-natal period, based on different countries and provinces. The study was launched on social media on June 23rd 2020 – already 2,135 pregnant women from Canada, USA, France, Austria, Denmark, Sweden, and the Emirates have participated and are included. This is not enough, however, and we need you to have a precise picture of the impact.

An Important Project for Women and Children

Science has already established that major stressful episodes, such as the 1998 ice storm, can have a big impact on pregnancy, the physical and mental health of pregnant women and even on the children of mothers who were pregnant during these traumatizing events. In addition to the difficult conditions such situations may entail, the restrictions and limitations stemming from decisions made by the authorities (governments, public health, hospitals...) in response to these emergencies can also have both physical and psychological consequences, which the researchers want to measure and understand.

“So far, we do not have any data on pregnant women and babies born in the context of COVID-19, an epidemic with unprecedented consequences that has forced public decision makers to take an array of measures that have been more or less burdensome for pregnant and post-partum women and newborns,” explained Dr. Bérard.

Confinement, physical distancing, school closures, quarantine and restrictions on companions during medical appointments and labour are just some of the measures that have been imposed, in different areas and for varying lengths of time, on the entire population, including expecting mothers and their babies, and scientists are interested in assessing the related consequences. The objectives of the investigation also include understanding pregnant women’s experience with COVID-19 and determining whether the intensity and severity of episodes of depression or stress in this context are related to the stage of pregnancy.

“Preliminary analyses of CONCEPTION have shown that the prevalence of COVID-19 during pregnancy is higher than what has been reported thus far; the pandemic has a significant impact on maternal mental health, stress and overall satisfaction with life, greater than what had been seen during the 1998 ice storm; and that there are large variations depending on where you reside in Canada and elsewhere. We need more participants in order to fully document these variations and understand their impact on pregnancy, women, and their newborns,” says Dr. Bérard.

This study is funded by the Réseau québécois de recherche sur les médicaments and the Fonds de la recherche du Québec en santé Chair on Medications Pregnancy.

To take part in the project

For this extensive study, a two-phase recruitment campaign will be deployed online and through targeted posts on social networks: https://www.facebook.com/etudeconceptionstudy/

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About the CHU Sainte-Justine Research Center

The CHU Sainte-Justine Research Center is a leading mother-child research institution affiliated with Université de Montréal. It brings together more than 210 research investigators, including over 110 clinician-scientists, as well as 450 graduate and postgraduate students focused on finding innovative prevention means, faster and less invasive treatments, as well as personalized approaches to medicine. The Center is part of the CHU Sainte-Justine, which is the largest mother-child centre in Canada and second pediatric center in North America. More on research.chusj.org

CHU Sainte-Justine


Maude Hoffmann
Communications, CHU Sainte-Justine Research Centre

Media contact:

Florence Meney
Senior Advisor – Media Relations
CHU Sainte-Justine
Tel.: 514-755-2516

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Updated on 10/16/2020
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