Obstetrics

​​​Medical Discovery

Dr. Adams Waldorf at monitor in labMedical innovation and discovery improves patient care, advances scientific knowledge, prevents and treats disease, and strengthens our economy through collaborations between medical centers and private industry. To fulfill our mission of advancing patient care through research, our obstetrics and gynecology faculty are at the forefront of medical discovery. 

A number of studies are available to pregnant patients who want to help other women at risk for giving birth prematurely in the future.

We invite our patients to consider participating in the following studies:
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GAPPS Repository

Dr. David Eschenbach, Professor and Chair, Obstetrics & Gynecology, University of Washington

The Global Alliance for the Prevention of Prematurity and Stillbirth (GAPPS) Repository will provide researchers with the tools they need – data linked to samples – to solve problems that devastate millions of women each year. Around the world there are 13 million preterm births, of which 1 million babies die. There are an additional 3 million stillbirths, many occurring near the time of delivery. In the U.S. alone there are 500,000 preterm births and 25,000 stillbirths each year. Yet, we know very little about why they occur and cannot identify women who are at risk for having a preterm birth or stillbirth. We cannot prevent them. The GAPPS Repository serves as a centralized biobank of data and samples to promote new research on preterm birth, stillbirth and other poor pregnancy and birth outcomes, and will enable the discovery of new and innovative ways to diagnose, treat, and prevent preterm birth and stillbirth.

All pregnant women are eligible to participate in the GAPPS Repository. We are enrolling women at three different time points: 1) women at their first prenatal clinic visit; 2) women who have been hospitalized because they are at risk for preterm birth; and 3) women admitted to the hospital for preterm delivery. Each woman who enrolls in the study will be asked to complete up to three web-based questionnaires and to provide samples. The samples are those that are already being collected as part of her normal prenatal care, such as urine and blood and, at the time of delivery, a small amount of cord blood and placental tissue. We may also ask family members to complete a brief (5 minute) questionnaire and provide a blood sample.

The University of Washington is one of four network collection sites. Collections at UW will begin with women already hospitalized for preterm labor, with plans to add enrollment of pregnant women in prenatal clinics at the Maternal and Infant Care Clinic at UW Medical Center or Roosevelt Clinic before the end of the year. Participants will receive free parking.

Please visit the GAPPS website to learn more about this important research: www.gapps.org.

Study coordinator: Evangelyn Nkwopara, evangelc@uw.edu



The International Fetal and Newborn Growth Standards for the 21st Century (Intergrowth-21st Study)

Dr. Manjiri Dighe, UW Department of Radiology; Dr. Michael Gravett, UW Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology; Dr. Sarah Waller, UW Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology

This international study is designed to investigate the pattern of growth among healthy babies both before and after birth. The information obtained from this study will enable the creation of fetal and newborn growth charts that can be used internationally.

We are seeking pregnant women who are obtaining their prenatal care at the UW Medical Center and ancillary clinics. Eligibility requirements include: women between the ages of 18 and 35 who have regular menstrual cycles, conceived spontaneously and who do not have ongoing medical issues. Participants will need to deliver their baby at the UW Medical Center to complete the postnatal portion of the study.

Eligible women will receive up to six free limited ultrasound scans and will be asked a few basic health questions and have their weight and blood pressure checked at each study visit. If the baby is born at or after 37 weeks’ gestation, their part in the study ends after the baby is measured. If the baby is born prematurely (before 37 weeks), the baby’s growth will be monitored for an additional eight months.

Participants will receive free parking at UW Medical Center and a couple of small gifts after their babies are born. In addition, when possible, patients will also have printed sonograms to take home at each visit.

For more information about this study, please visit our study’s website: http://www.intergrowth21.org.uk/

Study coordinator: Ashley Carter, 206.598.9539​ or aacarter@u.washington.edu.



Studies of Pregnant Women to Understand Autoimmune Diseases

Dr. J. Lee Nelson, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

This is a study of how pregnancy affects the immune system. We are interested in the differences between pregnancy in healthy women and pregnancy in women with rheumatoid arthritis.

We are seeking volunteers who have no autoimmune disease as well as those who have rheumatoid arthritis. All volunteers must be pregnant or planning to become pregnant. Primary participants will be asked for blood samples. Blood draws may take place at the Fred Hutchinson Research Center or at a clinic that better suits the participant.

We would like to collect blood samples before pregnancy, once during each trimester and at least once after delivery. Healthy participants will be paid $20 for each blood draw. Along with the blood draws, we would like to obtain a small amount of umbilical cord blood from each participant's baby after delivery. This does not affect the normal process of delivery.

Participants will fill out a questionnaire about health, family and pregnancy history. Husbands, mothers and previous children will be asked for a cheek swab, a mouth-swish sample or a hair sample in order to collect small amounts of DNA for genetic typing. This information will be compared with results from other families who are participating in the study. For more information about this study, please visit our website.

Study coordinator: Dawn Stief, 206.667.6850 or 866.648.1917 (toll free) or lnelsonlab@fhcrc.org
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The Infant Development and Environment Study (TIDES)

Dr. Sheela Sathyanarayana, Seattle Children’s Research Institute
Dr. Michael Gravett, UW Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology

This study explores how everyday chemicals in the environment shape your baby’s development. We especially want to learn about how these chemicals can affect your baby before birth.

We are inviting women who are over 18 years of age and less than 14 weeks pregnant to participate in the study. Each participant will complete a questionnaire in each trimester of pregnancy and provide one blood sample in the first trimester and a urine sample in each trimester. We will measure each participant’s baby at birth and at 12 months of age.

Participants will receive a $10 gift card in each trimester and will be entered into a lottery to win an iPod. Women whose infants are followed at the birth exam will receive $25 and at the follow-up exam.

Please visit This study explores how everyday chemicals in the environment shape your baby’s development. We especially want to learn about how these chemicals can affect your baby before birth. We are inviting women who are over 18 years of age and less than 14 weeks pregnant to participate in the study. Each participant will complete a questionnaire in each trimester of pregnancy and provide one blood sample in the first trimester and a urine sample in each trimester. We will measure each participant’s baby at birth and at 12 months of age. Participants will receive a $10 gift card in each trimester and will be entered into a lottery to win an iPod. Women whose infants are followed at the birth exam will receive $25 and at the follow-up exam. Please visit www.tidesstudy.org for more information.

Study coordinators: Ellen Laschansky, lasch@uw.edu, and Kristy Ivicek, RN, kristy.ivicek@seattlechildrens.org.



Pharmacokinetics of Under-Studied Drugs Used During Pregnancy

Dr. Mary Hebert, UW Department of Pharmacy
Dr. Thomas Easterling, UW Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology

The Obstetric-fetal Pharmacology Research Unit (OPRU) is evaluating the pharmacokinetics of under-studied drugs used during pregnancy and postpartum. Many women need to continue the use of prescription medications during pregnancy due to underlying medical conditions. While few drugs have been well studied in human pregnancy, women and their physicians, weighing limited available evidence, often conclude that the risk of discontinuing medications during pregnancy exceed those of continued drug use. However, little is known regarding appropriate drug dosing in pregnancy, and whether dosing should change, either to ensure efficacy or to avoid toxicity, at different stages of gestation.

Subjects eligible for the study are pregnant women who are receiving medication for therapeutic purposes during and after pregnancy. The purpose of this study is to gain a better understanding of how the body handles medications during early-, mid-, and late-pregnancy, labor and deliver, 12 to 16 weeks postpartum while breastfeeding and 1 to 3 months after stopping breastfeeding.

Participants in this study will be compensated and provided free parking on study days. Please contact a study coordinator if you are interested in learning more about this study.

Study Coordinators: Susan McKay: smmckay@u.washington.edu or Claudine Hernandez cjthree@u.washington.edu. Both can be reached at 206.543.5600.