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Pregnancy and Parenthood Among Surgery Residents: Results of the First Nationwide Survey of General Surgery Program Directors
*Britt J. Sandler, *John J. Tackett, Walter E. Longo, *Peter S. Yoo
Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, CT

Objective. To determine residency program policies and program director (PD) perspectives about pregnancy and parenthood during surgical training.
Design. Survey
Setting. U.S. general surgery residency programs.
Participants. General surgery residency PDs.
Interventions. None.
Main Outcome Measures. Existence of formal policies providing parental leave for residents. Availability of childcare and spaces to express breast milk. Perspectives about pregnancy timing. Perceived impact of parenthood on training and well-being.
Results. Survey participation requests were sent to members of the Association of Program Directors in Surgery. 66 respondents completed the survey (26% response rate): 70% male, 59% from university-based programs, 76% between 40-59 years of age. Two thirds (67%) reported having a maternity leave policy. 48% reported having a paternity leave policy. Leave duration was most frequently reported as six weeks for maternity leave (58%) and one week for paternity leave (45%). 38% of PDs reported availability of on-site childcare and 58% reported availability of lactation rooms. 46% of university PDs said that the research years are the best time to have a child during residency. 51% of community PDs said that no particular time during residency is best. 61% reported that becoming a parent negatively affects female trainees’ work, including placing an increased burden on fellow residents (33%). Respondents perceive children as decreasing female trainees’ well-being more often than male trainees’ (32% vs. 9%, p<0.001).
Conclusions. PD reports indicate a lack of national uniformity in surgical residency policies regarding parental leave, length of leave, access to childcare, and access to spaces to express breast milk. PDs perceive parenthood to more negatively affect the training and well-being of female residents.


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