Attitudes of Physician Faculty Members and Residents Toward the Pregnant Medical Resident

Johanna Shapiro, PhD

Residents are taught that pregnancy and childbirth are significant developmental events in the life cycle of their patients. Yet residency programs are generally silent on the subject of pregnancy of their own residents, who are often treated on an ad hoc, crisis basis. The result is additional stress for both faculty members and residents.

The study reported here sought to explore further the issue of pregnancy among residents. While considerable attention has been devoted to describing issues specifically relevant to the pregnant psychiatric resident, few articles have considered the pregnant resident in other areas of medicine. Given that issues of role balance and role conflict for women in medicine appear to apply to the spectrum of medical specialties, the author felt it appropriate to examine attitudes toward pregnant residents in general and so conducted a survey at the University of California, Irvine, Medical Center to gather information about resident and faculty attitudes toward pregnancy during residency, as well as about existing departmental policies toward the pregnant resident. The survey also elicited recommendations for change.

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