Goal of this preliminary study was to investigate if expectant parents would be interested and willing to participate in the LöwenKIDS study. To this end, we presented parents the LöwenKIDS study and its essential elements in 13 gynecological and midwifery practices as well as in the Brunswick Clinic. The parents-to-be then received an explanatory letter, the latest study flyer and questionnaires asking them to rate the information material and answer questions about the planned elements of the study. Thus, not only were information on general interest in the study and the feasibility of individual elements in everyday life gathered, but also the best ways to establish contact between the study staff and the parents.

Who answered us?
Of the 334 questionnaires we distributed, we received 76 completed ones back - 49 of them from expectant mothers and 27 from expectant fathers (23% response). The mothers were on average 32 years old, the fathers 34. 57% of the survey participants were expecting their first child.

How was the information material rated?
In order to find out whether our materials (questionnaires, flyers, letters) were sufficiently informative, we asked the study participants to rate them. As Figure 1 shows, all respondents found the material to be clearly understandable. Over 90% of the participants also rated it as appealing and sufficient as decision aid.

Abbildung 1: Einschätzung des Informationsmaterials

How willing would you be to participate in a study?
A total of 71 participants responded to the question, "Would you like to take part in the LöwenKIDS study?": Over 70% of them stated that they could imagine taking part in the study (“yes” and “somewhat yes”). Provided they would participate, hypothetically speaking, around 60% (37/62) said they could imagine taking part in the study for about three years. Roughly 23% (16/70) of the survey participants could imagine participating for six years until their children started elementary school.

When and where is the best time to talk to parents?
As the study is intended to record children's infections from birth, it is necessary to talk to potential participants during pregnancy. The parents answered where and when the most favorable moment for this would be, as shown in Figure 2. More than 70% of respondents rated the approach in a midwifery practice or in a birth preparation course as “good” or “somewhat good”. According to the results, gynecological practices, baby care courses or tours of the delivery room would also be suitable for addressing a study like this.

Abbildung 2: Ansprechbarkeit der Eltern


Once stirring interest in LöwenKIDS, the willingness of expectant parents to take part in the study with all its elements is comparatively high.

The aim of LöwenKIDS is to study what sort of influence infections (e.g. colds, gastrointestinal diseases) and vaccinations in the first years of life can have on the development of chronic diseases such as allergies or asthma. Thus, it follows from the results that in order to realize this study we have to make targeted contact, preferably addressing expecting parents directly, and rousing interest in becoming study participants.

Via medical practices, courses and informational offers, approaching parents-to-be is fairly simple and unintrusive.