Childbearing and parenthood during residency and fellowship

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

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Publication Title



Objective: To evaluate the common concerns and factors affecting planning a family during residency and fellowship and to create required support services particular to those needs. Background: With the rise in burnout amongst physicians, family stress and parenthood during training may be an important factor in early career burnout. Studies have shown that childbearing and parenthood during residency and fellowship affects training and career satisfaction. With women in medicine comprising half the workforce and long training periods, it is a not uncommon for residents to start families during residency. Pregnancy, lactation, maternity/paternity leaves, post partum support affects resident education, training and often program completion time. Design/Methods: We conducted a detailed online survey of all residents and fellows at Henry Ford Hospital utilizing survey monkey. Questions were asked regarding knowledge of parental leave, policies pertaining to training and board examination, breast feeding policies, feasible childcare options and other parental resources. After the survey, parent support group was created which carried out meetings to address trainee's needs. Results: Out of the total house officers surveyed, 78 responded to the survey. Among them 50% responded that due to their career plan, they put off planning a family while still in training. About 80% of them were not aware of the institution's resources for new parents and 60% were unaware of lactation policies. Conclusions: Parent support group was created with the intent to address these issues and mitigate stress associated with childbirth during training. Monthly meetings with focus on specific issues such as lactation, work life integration and parenting as well as faculty panels and mentorship for interested residents are arranged as a part of this project. A more widespread initiative should be taken to provide parenthood support to residents and fellows.





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