Birthing behaviours and practices in response to COVID-19: Consent Form

Birthing Behaviours and practices in response to COVID-19 Consent form

Principle Investigator

Marla Morden, Instructor of Psychology

Vancouver Island University, VIU

I am an instructor of psychology at Vancouver Island University (VIU). My research, entitled “Birthing behaviours and practices in response to COVID-19” aims to identify how women alter their birthing practices and behaviour in response to COVID-19. My hope is that my research will contribute to the understanding of our response to a novel pathogen, and also contribute health and success of women giving birth during a global pandemic.

Research participants are asked to keep diaries and complete two interviews (via Zoom). If you agree, you would be asked questions concerning your personal experiences preparing for and giving birth, with emphasis on factors such as how your decisions and priorities have changed in response to COVID-19; including, but not limited to, what you are most worried and most confident about, who you plan on being present at the birth, what you find to be the greatest challenges. With your permission, the Zoom interviews will be recorded. Your participation in the two interviews would require approximately an hour of your time (30m each), and the journal entries are also expected to take less than an hour (over the course of the third trimester to the early postpartum period). We will also ask some basic demographic information such as age and education, and questions pertaining to COVID-19.

Journal Entries
The journal entries are designed to capture important or key birth decisions and challenges associated with COVID-19 as they are happening. Like the interviews, the diaries will focus on a central question: What does it mean to you to give birth during COVID-19? More specifically, you will be asked about how your birth plan has been transformed because of COVID-19, and/or what decisions you have been forced to make because of COVID-19. For example, you may wish to write down that the rules around who is allowed in the hospital have changed, and how that has effected you. Or, you may wish to share information around the fact that you have decided to opt for a hospital birth or home-birth, and why. As we are conducting research that is designed to capture our participants’ experiences, it is OK if you write a little or a lot. For example, some individuals may want to write more in their dairies, and some individuals may want to write less. Some individuals may not write anything at all. That is OK. We ask only that, over the course of the study (3rd trimester – postpartum period) you share information in your diaries as you feel comfortable, and as your time allows.

At your convenience we will schedule two interviews: one in the 3rd trimester and one at approximately 6 weeks postpartum. We will schedule 30 minutes each. Like the journal entries, the interviews will focus on a central question: What does it mean to you to give birth during COVID-19? It is possible that these interviews may take longer than the scheduled time. As we highly value the contribution that you are making in sharing your experiences we will do our best to honour this timeframe, while also recognizing that it sharing birthing stories holds meaning and significance. The interviewer will keep track of the time and announce when 30 minutes has been reached.

Participants will be invited to enter a draw for a $100 gift card for a major grocery store at both study time periods (the third trimester and the postpartum period). Please note that withdrawal from the study, for whatever reason, does not exclude you from participating in the draws. All participants, including those who complete and those who do not complete the study, are eligible to enter. Winners will be contacted via email.

Risk of harm to participants
The information collected during the interview is likely to be uncontroversial, and thus the research poses only a very small risk of harm to participants. Depending on the information you provide, and whether you choose to participate anonymously, there is a small possibility that the information you provide might cause loss of social status and/or embarrassment. However, we will also be asking about topics that are associated with stress and strong emotions (ie COVID-19, giving birth), and so it is possible that the interviews or diaries may create feelings of discomfort or anxiety. You may experience feelings of increased vulnerability, or a sense of distress or loss. You will be asked to consent to being audio and/or video recorded. There are increased privacy risks to being video recorded. Furthermore, answering these questions may pose a perceived or actual risk to your privacy. To mitigate these risks, please remember that you are free to decline to answer any question that you do not wish to answer. Your interview will be stored locally on a password protected computer. Also, I would like to assure you that you can withdraw at any time, for any reason, without fear or concern about negative reprisals of any kind. Information on local supports including crisis lines and counselling supports will be made available (; ;

Management of Research Information/Data

All records of your participation will be confidential. Limited members of the research team will have access to information in which you are identified. With your permission, the interviews will be audio and/or video-recorded and later transcribed into writing (by a member of the research team). At your request, you will be provided a copy of the transcript and invited to make changes to the transcript as you wish (e.g. if you would like withdraw a particular statement you made during an interview). Electronic data will be stored on a password-protected computer. Signed consent forms and paper copies of interview transcripts will be stored in a locked file cabinet in my home. Data will be securely stored and preserved for two years after the end of the project; it will be deleted and shredded by approximately May 2023.

Zoom Video-recordings (& telephone alternative)

In accordance with the procedures documented by the VIU CIEL I will 1) not include any identifying features in the scheduled Zoom interview calls but will instead use a more generic, i.e. “Interview”. 2) Participants are asked to log on with only their first name, nickname, or initials. 3) Participants are also asked not to upload photos of their true selves to the account area – it should be left blank.

The recorded interviews will be stored locally (on a password protected computer). Please note that because Zoom stores data on servers located outside of Canada, data you provide would not be protected by Canadian privacy legislation, and may be accessed by the government of the United States. For information on Zoom’s privacy policy, see

For individuals who would like to participate but are reluctant to use Zoom, we could arrange a telephone interview as an alternative. We will ask for your permission to audio-record the telephone call (please see below). Recordings of telephone calls will be stored on a password protected computer.

Use of Research Information

The results of this study will be used for conference publications, presentations, and published in peer-reviewed journals.

Participation and withdrawal

Your participation is completely voluntary. You may withdraw from the study at any time where practicable, for any reason, and without explanation. You may choose to withdraw at any stage of the study. If you choose to withdraw, for any reason, you are still eligible to participate in the draws for $100.

If you would like to review and potentially make changes to the transcripts of the interview, you may withdraw up to two weeks from the time of being provided a copy of the transcript. If you decline to review the transcript, you may withdraw up to two weeks from the date of our interview. If you wish to review and potentially make changes to the dairies/journal entries, you may do so up to two weeks from the time of submitting the diaries. If you choose to withdraw from the study, all information you provided from the diaries and during the interviews would be withdrawn from the study and destroyed.

Limits to confidentiality

In conducting research, we have a primary obligation to protect the confidentiality and privacy of participants. However, as is true of all Canadian citizens, if the dairies or interviews reveals that the participant or their loved ones (including the fetus and/or children) is at immediate risk of significant harm, the researcher has a duty to report this information to the proper authorities.

Consent and Conditions of Consent

I have read and understand the information provided above, and hereby consent to participate in this research under the following conditions:

I consent to the interview being audio recorded (Zoom or telephone) Yes No

I consent to the interview being video recorded (Zoom). Yes No

I consent to being quoted in the products of the research. Yes No

Participant Name _______________________________

Participant Signature____________________________

I, Marla Morden , promise to adhere to the procedures described in this consent form.

Principal Investigator Signature ______________ Date _______

Concerns about your Treatment in the Research

If you have any concerns about your treatment as a research participant in this study, please contact the VIU Research Ethics Board by telephone at 250-740-6631 or by email at