Pregnancy and Parenting in Medical School: Highlighting the Need for Data and Support

Acad Med. 2021 Feb 9. doi: 10.1097/ACM.0000000000003988. Online ahead of print.

Abstract

More than 8% of medical students graduate from medical school with at least one non-spouse dependent, the majority of whom are likely children. However, there are no national studies on medical students who are parents, and very little is known about what medical schools are doing to support them. A growing literature on the experiences of residents and attending physicians who are parents has neglected to include those of medical students who are parents. It is possible that focusing on research and policy change for residents and attending physicians who are parents without considering medical students may bring about improvements that come too late for many. Further data are needed both on the available policies for students who are parents and on the experiences and needs of these students. Leading national organizations in medical education can help guide medical schools by leveraging their national networks to highlight existing best practices and to foster discussions about how best to support medical students who are parents.