UPWARDS Study Information

Understanding Pregnancy Wellbeing And Resilience Derived from Smartphones (UPWARDS)


About the study:

The purpose of the UPWARDS study is to develop a better approach to identify pregnant individuals who are having difficulty with their emotional wellbeing and may need extra help or support during and after pregnancy. We will do this by using information about how you interact with your smartphone. We are asking you to take part in this research study because you are pregnant and own a smartphone. Once you provide your permission, the authorization to use your health information collected during your participation in this study will never expire. However, you may withdraw or take away your permission at any time. You may withdraw your permission by telling the study staff or by writing to Dr. Kieran O’Donnell at the Yale Child Study Center, 230 S. Frontage Rd. SHM I-273A, New Haven, CT 06519 or by emailing Kieran.ODonnell@yale.edu. Your participation or withdrawal from this study will not affect the care you receive.


What do we need from you?

  1. Passive data collected through the EARS application: The EARS smartphone app gathers information from a variety of smartphone sensors such as the keyboard, geolocation, phone usage (e.g., number of calls made/received), accelerometer, music choices (e.g., Spotify) and media choices (e.g., App use), together with information you will provide through very brief daily surveys (2 questions) called ecological momentary assessments (EMAs).

Note: We will not monitor the contents of your calls or texts however we will record the length of text messages, and certain features of the text (e.g., how many positive words are used). All data is de-identified (i.e. names, phone numbers, addresses, etc. are removed) and analyzed by an established data analytics company with data protection policies in place. Nobody will be actively tracking or monitoring your phone. We will receive a summary of the analyzed data every few weeks.

  1. Questionnaires: We will ask you to complete standardized questionnaires each month asking about how you feel and behave. Additional questionnaires will be completed at the beginning and end of the study collecting information about general demographic information (e.g., your age and occupation) and birth outcomes (e.g., your baby’s weight). The questionnaires will be completed online, can be done from home, and we can assist with any questions or concerns.


At the start of this study, our research team will ask you a few questions related to your health and wellbeing to see if you are eligible to participate. If you are not eligible to participate or decide not to participate after the screening process, we will remove all of your personal identifying information, but will retain the other information you provide to help us better design future research. We may share the de-identified information with other researchers to help them design future studies as well. Refusing to participate in this study will not affect your rights to obtain healthcare from Yale New Haven or benefits to which you are entitled.


If you have further questions or are interested in participating in our study, please contact us at pregnancyhealth@yale.edu or call/text us at (203) 889-5372.


Study Title: Understanding Pregnancy Wellbeing And Resilience Derived from Smartphones

Study Sponsors: Support for this study is provided by The Canadian Institute For Advanced Research.

HIC#: 2000033069