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Oxford pregnancy study
Many women experience high levels of stress and anxiety during pregnancy. We are interested in what affects this may have on both mums and babies. Our ultimate goal is to understand how high levels of stress in pregnancy may affect mums and babies and to improve treatment for women who experience prenatal stress, anxiety and depression. 
In order to do this we are currently recruiting women who are pregnant for the first time in the Oxfordshire area, however we are recruiting women with all levels of prenatal mood, and not specifically women with high levels of prenatal stress and anxiety. 


About the Oxford Pregnancy Study

Study Procedures

Part 1 - Screening. In order to check participants are eligible for the study, they firstly complete a short screening questionnaire. More details of the inclusion criteria are below.

Part 2 - Antenatal assessment. Participants are invited to the Department of Psychiatry at the Warneford Hosptial for the antenatal assessment. These assessments take place place during the afternoon, and last for about one and a half hours in total. This part of the study involves signing a consent form, completing some questionnaires, watching a short video and providing some saliva samples. We also ask participants to collect some further saliva samples at home and send them back in the post. 

Part 3 - Postnatal assessment. About 2 months after the participants have given birth, they are visited at home by one of the researchers. Participants are asked to complete another questionnaire and provide some saliva samples from their baby. 

Inclusion and Exclusion Criteria

We are looking for pregnant women who are:

  • Pregnant for the first time
  • Have a singleton pregnancy (i.e. not twins)
  • Speak English fluently
  • Between 18 and 40 years old

However, we can't include women who:

  •  Have had any complications during their pregnancy
  • Are taking any steroid-based medications


If you would like some more information about the study, please contact the lead investigator, Elizabeth Braithwaite, on 01865 613 109, or email


Below are some comments that previous participants have made about the study:

"I was glad to take part in the Oxford Pregnancy Study. The research is an interesting area, and I am happy to feel that I have contributed to the knowledge of the role of anxiety in pregnancy" - J.,

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