Pregnancy and Parenting During Cardiology Fellowship

J Am Heart Assoc. 2019 Jul 16;8(14):e012137. doi: 10.1161/JAHA.119.012137. Epub 2019 Jul 9.


Background An increasing number of residents and fellows have children during training. However, little is known about the specific experience of cardiology fellows who become parents during training. Methods and Results A 66-question Internet-based survey about experiences of pregnancy during graduate medical training was administered between May 1 and July 15, 2013, to all trainees (N=1516) in the Mayo School of Graduate Medical Education across 3 academic sites. Questions explored the experiences of new mothers, fathers, and their fellow trainees. There were 644 survey respondents overall (response rate, 42%), and of 73 cardiovascular trainees, 29 (10 women [35%]) completed the survey. Of those surveyed, 59% reported having children. All trainee mothers reported making alterations to their training schedule due to pregnancy and maternity leave. Twenty percent of trainee fathers also reported changing their training because of their partner's pregnancy. Of trainees with children, 41% reported difficulty completing research because of pregnancy and childcare obligations. Nontrainee mothers were significantly more likely to breastfeed beyond 6 months compared with trainee mothers ( P=0.018). A perceived stigma attached to pregnancy was reported by 62% of trainees. Both male and female trainees felt that their programs did not promote pregnancy-related schedule flexibility. Conclusions Our study shows that both men and women entering parenthood during cardiology training often have to change their schedule, research, and career path. Cardiology training programs should focus on curriculum design and supportive parenthood policies to both avoid negative stigma and optimize fellowship training during this time period.

Keywords: breastfeeding; cardiology; fellowship; parenthood; pregnancy; training.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Breast Feeding*
  • Cardiology / education*
  • Education, Medical, Graduate*
  • Fellowships and Scholarships
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Parental Leave*
  • Parenting*
  • Personnel Staffing and Scheduling*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications
  • Research
  • Social Stigma*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires