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ED Residents’ Attitudes Favorable To Pregnancy During Residency

June 6, 2011

The demands of a medical residency can make balancing a career and family a challenge. But the results of a Henry Ford Hospital survey of Emergency Department (ED) resident physicians’ attitudes on pregnancy during residency may offer uplifting news.

The survey of 541 residents from across the country found that 84 percent said it was acceptable for female residents to have children during residency and 82 percent said they would rearrange their schedule to help a pregnant colleague.

However, 48 percent of residents acknowledged that their schedule would be impacted by a pregnant colleague and 40 percent said it would inconvenience them. Only 34 percent said their pregnant colleagues should receive special consideration for their work schedule and expectations.

The findings are being presented at the annual meeting of the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine June 1-5 in Boston.

“I think our findings validate what we already knew,” says Taher Vohra, M.D., a Henry Ford ED physician and senior author of the survey. “Most emergency medicine residents are supportive of their colleagues having children during residency.”

This is believed to be the first time researchers measured ED residents’ attitudes on pregnancy during residency.

The American Medical Women’s Association estimates that 50 percent of female physicians will have their first baby during residency training, and 25 percent will have a second during the same time period.

The survey was randomly sent to ED, Internal Medicine and Critical Care residency programs across the country in April 2010 for distribution to residents during a three-month period.

Of the 541 responses, 309 were female residents, 82 were pregnant residents and 84 were residents who had a pregnant partner.

Most pregnant residents and residents with pregnant partners said they felt supported by their ED administration and colleagues.

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