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Can J Surg. 2011 Dec;54(6):375-80. doi: 10.1503/cjs.015710.

Pregnancy among residents enrolled in general surgery (PREGS): a survey of residents in a single Canadian training program.

Author information

1
Division of General Surgery, Department of Surgery, University of British Columbia, 910 West 10th Ave., Vancouver, BC. shailam@interchange.ubc.ca

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Interest in general surgery has declined, and lack of adequate accommodation for pregnancy and parenting may be a deterrent. We explored resident experiences with these issues within a single general surgery program.

METHODS:

We surveyed residents enrolled in the University of British Columbia general surgery program from 1997 to 2009 using a Web-based survey tool. Information regarding demographics, pregnancy, postpartum issues and issues pertaining to maternity/parenting policies was obtained. We used the Student t test, Z test and Fisher exact test for statistical comparisons.

RESULTS:

Of the 81 residents surveyed, 53 responded (65% response rate). There were fewer pregnancies during residency among female residents than among partners of male residents (PMRs; 9 pregnancies for 6 of 25 residents v. 23 pregnancies for 15 of 28 PMRs, p = 0.002). One of 9 pregnancies among female residents and 5 of 23 among PMRs ended in miscarriage (p > 0.99). Female residents and PMRs reported pregnancy-related complications with equal frequency. All female residents breastfed for at least 6 months; however, 67% (4 of 6) felt their resident role prevented them from breastfeeding as long as they would have liked. Most (5 of 6, 83%) pursued a graduate degree or research during their "maternity leave." More than 50% of residents reported that their own workload increased because of a colleague's pregnancy. Many (36 of 53, 68%) were unaware of the existence of any maternity/parenting policy, and most were in favour of instituting such a policy.

CONCLUSION:

Resident mothers do not breastfeed for the desired duration, and precluding factors must be explored. Contingency plans are needed so colleagues are not overburdened when pregnant residents cannot perform clinical duties. General surgery programs must have a formal policy addressing these issues.

PMID:
21939607
PMCID:
PMC3238337
DOI:
10.1503/cjs.015710
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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