In 2020, in-person research activities were stopped because of the spread of the novel coronavirus, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, and the resulting disease, coronavirus disease 2019. Our collaborative team of nurse and midwife scientists at universities across the United States adapted research activities to continue prospective perinatal research during the pandemic. These adaptations included development of new research techniques and the implementation of previously developed, but underused, strategies to conduct research from a distance. These strategies included online recruitment, virtual enrollment and consent, qualitative data collection via video conferencing, new applications of smart phone technology, wearable biological measurement, and participant self-collection of biological samples. In addition to allowing research to continue during the pandemic, these innovative strategies may increase access to research for low-income, rural, and racially diverse pregnant and postpartum populations. Decreased travel requirements, flexible scheduling, wearable devices, and the capacity to self-collect biologic samples may improve recruitment and the experience of research participation. The rapid implementation of these research strategies has advanced innovation toward wider, more inclusive and increasingly diverse perinatal research access, and many of these strategies will continue to be used and refined.
Keywords: COVID-19; informed consent; midwifery; prospective studies; recruitment; research design; smartphone; wearable electronic devices.
© 2022 by the American College of Nurse-Midwives.