Learn more about research

We are so pleased that you interested in learning more about women's health research.

We are proud to report that UNC is a leading institution for teaching as well as research. Did you know that we are one of 14 university centers selected to participate in a renowned National Research in Pregnancy Network sponsored by the NIH (National Institutes of Health)?  We are also ranked thirteenth in government research awards (NIH and NICHD) given to medical schools. We (and our patients) took part in the research study which showed that progesterone was helpful in preventing preterm birth. Another study that we did showed the usefulness of early ultrasound to detect genetic problems. Both teaching and research allow us to provide the most up-to-date care for our patients.

What is medical research?

The goal of medical research is to add to health knowledge and learn about new treatments for patients in the future. Our current way of caring for you is based on many studies that have been done in the past but we are always looking for ways to improve care. The only way to find better ways of caring for our patients is doing research and keeping up with the research done by our colleagues at other medical universities. Because this is so important, one of the core missions of the UNC School of Medicine is research.

Should I take part in medical research?

Taking part in medical research is always voluntary - you have a choice. Deciding to take part in a research study is a personal decision. You should agree to take part in medical research only if you want to; not just because your doctor, friends or family, or spouse or significant other, wants you to. You can always decline to be in a research study.  Saying "no" will not affect your care in any way, or your relationship with your providers.

Is medical research safe?

All research involves some risk.  A panel of experts has reviewed each research study.  They review each proposal and make sure that the consent form explains what the risks are.  Be confident that the doctors and nurses would not allow research that is unethical or dangerous.

What can I do to help?

It may seem like a single woman cannot do much to help others.  YOU can make a difference. If you do choose to take part in research, you will help doctors and nurses  get information that may improve future pregnancy care.

As a patient at UNC OB-GYN, you may be invited to take part in one or more research studies.  These studies might involve interviews about your health and pregnancy, determining the best way to treat pregnancy complications such as diabetes or preterm labor, giving a sample of blood, or simply looking at your medical record.

What happens if I take part in medical research?

If asked to be in a research study, you will be given a written consent form with information about the study.  You will then talk about the study with a member of the research study team, and have a chance to ask questions to determine if you would like to be in the study. If you decide to take part you will be asked to sign the consent form, and then be given further instructions about what to do next.

Is there cost to me?

There is no cost to take part in medical research.  Some medical research studies may even pay you for your time and effort for taking part in the research.

What if I sign up and then change my mind?

Being in a research study is voluntary, and you can change your mind at any time and ask to be removed from the study. This will not in any way affect your care or our relationship with the doctors or nurses in our clinic and hospital.

Can I sign up for more than one study?

Yes!  Review the current studies that are recruiting patients to see if any interest you.

What medical research is on-going in the department?

We have several very exciting research studies currently ongoing.  Some studies recruit patients during pregnancy in the clinic, some recruit when you come into the hospital to have your baby and still others recruit on the postpartum unit after your baby is born.