Pregnancy among residents enrolled in general surgery: a nationwide survey of attitudes and experiences

Am J Surg. 2013 Oct;206(4):605-10. doi: 10.1016/j.amjsurg.2012.04.005. Epub 2012 Nov 30.


Background: Medical student interest in general surgery has declined, and the lack of adequate accommodation for pregnancy and parenting during residency training may be a deterrent. We explored resident and program director experiences with these issues in general surgery programs across Canada.

Methods: Using a web-based tool, residents and program directors from 16 Canadian general surgery programs were surveyed regarding their attitudes toward and experiences with pregnancy during residency.

Results: One hundred seventy-six of 600 residents and 8 of 16 program directors completed the survey (30% and 50% response rate, respectively). Multiple issues pertaining to pregnancy during surgical residency were reported including the lack of adequate policies for maternity/parenting, the major obstacles to breast-feeding, and the increased workload for fellow resident colleagues. All program directors reported the lack of a program-specific maternity/parenting policy.

Conclusions: General surgery programs lack program-specific maternity/parenting policies. Several issues have been highlighted in this study emphasizing the importance of creating and implementing such a policy.

Keywords: Maternity; Policy; Pregnancy; Residency; Surgery.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Breast Feeding
  • Canada
  • Faculty, Medical
  • Female
  • General Surgery / education*
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency*
  • Male
  • Organizational Policy
  • Parental Leave
  • Personnel Staffing and Scheduling
  • Physicians, Women / psychology*
  • Pregnancy*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Workload