Maternity policy and practice during surgery residency: How we do it

Sally E. Carty*, Yolonda L. Colson, Laura S. Garvey, Vaishali D. Schuchert, Ann Schwentker, Edith Tzeng, Noreen A. Corcoran, Richard L. Simmons, Marshall W. Webster, Timothy R. Billiar

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Background. Pregnancy during general surgery residency has traditionally been discouraged. Methods. In 2001, using an approved protocol, we anonymously surveyed 25 residents (PGY3 level or greater) concerning their experiences working with each other during episodes of resident pregnancy and maternity leave. Results. From 1995 to 2001, 13 of 59 residents in general surgery were female (22 %). While training, 6 of 13 residents reported 8 pregnancies with 2 miscarriages. Five residents (39 %) gave birth to 6 children and adopted 1 child. Residents worked until the day of term delivery in 5 of 6 cases; 1 pregnancy was complicated by placental abruption at 33 weeks. Residents were off work postpartum for a median of 6 weeks (range 2-6). Nursing was universal for ≥ 3 months but at-work problems with privacy and stress were frequent. On survey, all resident mothers believed they had been treated very fairly, and 94 % of surveyed male peers stated that the coworker's status had no effect or a positive effect on their own work life. Fatherhood was reported to occur during residency by 42 % of male respondents. Conclusions. Parenthood during residency is frequent. The complexities of resident maternity can be handled with mutual safety, equity, and satisfaction by the residents and faculty of a surgical training program.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)682-688
Number of pages7
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2002
Externally publishedYes


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