Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the SOLARS Study?

The Supporting Our Ladies and Reducing Stress to Prevent Preterm Birth (SOLARS) study, led by investigators at the UCSF California Preterm Birth Initiative (PTBi-CA) and their partners looks at how stress, resilience and coping affects gestational duration and preterm birth in Black and Hispanic/Latina women. We hope to collect valuable data that will ultimately lead to interventions aimed at increasing gestational duration and reducing preterm birth in women of color and their communities.

What is Preterm Birth?

Preterm birth is when a baby is born before 37 weeks of pregnancy. Preterm birth occurs in more than 1 in 10 pregnancies with higher rates observed in women of color. Preterm birth can lead to difficulties in learning and is associated with higher lifetime risk for some chronic illnesses including diabetes and hypertension.

Why is the SOLARS study important?

While psychological stress has consistenty been shown to be associated with preterm birth -- including in women of color, what biological changes underlie this relationship remain unknown. The SOLARS study is important because it will help us better understand the relationship between stress and preterm birth in women of color. SOLARS is unique in that it is one of the first, large-scale studies, led by women of color and by women who have delivered preterm with a focus on understanding the impact of stress, anxiety, and racism - in addition to resilience and coping - on gestational duration and preterm birth.

How does SOLARS work?

SOLARS asks to be part of a woman's pregnancy journey by asking questions about a woman's past and present life circumstances. Women fill out surveys at 6 time points online or can opt to fill out the survey with the help of a SOLARS research team member. Women are also asked to provide small samples of saliva, blood, and urine at 6 time points via a home nurse visit or at a central location in Oakland. Each participant is compensated for their participation in the study (see participants page for further information on eligibility and requirements for participation).

How will women be compensated for participating in the SOLARS study?

Women who participate are compensated for the time in takes to contribute survey and biospecimen data. Women can earn up to $280 over the course of the study. Women earn $30 for completed survey and required biospecimen collection (blood, urine, and saliva) at each prenatal time period (up to a total of four time points from 11 to 32 weeks) and are compensated $40 for participating at each postnatal time point (at 5-6 weeks and at 6 months). In addition, women are compensated an additional $10 for contribution of any extra prenatal biospecimen (nasal or vaginal swab) and an additional $20 for contribution of postnatal biospecimens (maternal nasal or vaginal swab or breastmilk; baby urine or fecal sample).

Can a woman participate if she does not have reliable mobile or internet access?

Women can fill out paper surveys or complete the survey in person with a SOLARS staff member.

What types of questions are asked?

The SOLARS surveys ask questions about how a woman is feeling -  both physically and emotionally, during her pregnancy. The surveys also ask a woman to reflect on her physical and emotional well-being before pregnancy including in childhood, adolescence, and in adulthood. Some questions are challenging and women are free to choose what questions they are or are not comfortable answering.

How is information kept private?

The University of California is a research institution. All research projects conducted by the University must be approved through a special review process to protect patient safety, welfare and confidentiality. While the information collected may be important to further research efforts and the development of new knowledge, as part of the study, women are asked to consent to such use. Women are also asked if they are comfortable with being contacted for any future studies and may agree or decline such participation.

The health information that we collect about women in the study is stored securely and electronically. Access is limited to the investigators and SOLARS research team. Identifiable data (data that has a woman's your name, birth date, or other identifiers) is stored locally and not available via any web or cloud-based storage system. All cloud-based systems use a partcipant study ID only.

Is there any cost associated with participation in SOLARS?

There is NO cost to participants.

What is the time commitment if a woman decides to participate?

Much of this will depend on when in pregnancy a woman joins, but we would ask that women complete surveys at up to 4 time points during pregnancy and at 5-6 weeks and 6-months after delivery. Each surveys take about 30 minutes to complete online. The first set of surveys can take a bit longer given inclusion of additional questions about demographics and pre-pregnancy health and well-being. In-home visits generally take about 45 minutes.

What if a woman misses a session?

That’s okay! They still participate and pick up where they left off.

What if a woman doesn't want to provide certain samples?

Women are free to leave the SOLARS study at any time if anything feels uncomfortable. However, it is our hope that we can discuss and answer any questions a woman might have before deciding not to provide certain samples as not providing blood, urine, or saliva will disqualify a woman from continuing with the study. This is because each biosample can be used to measure factors that may provide critical information about the link between stress and preterm birth.

How will participants and other interested individuals and entitities find out about the results of the study?

Results from the study will be shared online and via newsletters available on this site and will be published in medical and academic journals. We will also share the results via academic and public presentations which will be advertised via email to participants, via this website, and via social media.

I have more questions. Who can I contact?

You can get in touch with the SOLARS research team in English or in Spanish at (510) 543-1817 or email [email protected]