A paper reporting the results of a survey of women surgeons on the topic of pregnancy appears in Archives of Surgery online ahead of print.
Responses were received from 1937 female surgeons, which was 49.6% of those who were sent surveys. Not surprisingly, the findings were that women surgeons feel stigmatized about pregnancy during surgical residency training.
Things are improving, but slowly. The percentage of women reporting that pregnancy during training is stigmatized fell from 76% for women who graduated more than 30 years ago, all the way down to 67% for women who graduated less than 10 years ago. The difference was statistically significant [p = 0.001] but hardly significant in the real world. At this rate, pregnancy among female surgical residents should be no longer stigmatized by about the year 2127.
According to Table 3 of the paper, the cumulative rate of pregnancy of female surgery residents who graduated fewer than 30 years ago is 32.2%. To put it another way, 1/3 of all female surgery residents became pregnant at least once during their five years of training.
The most interesting finding was that even women faculty and women residents were perceived as having a negative influence on women surgeons contemplating childbearing and this negativity has not abated over the years. Meanwhile, the percentage of both residents who are women and those who become pregnant is increasing.
Male residents can get sick or be injured and miss time. Should there be any reason to deal with pregnancy differently?
What do you think about this?
This blog appeared on Sermo [registration free for physicians] yesterday and 38% of the 26 doctors who voted felt that female surgical residents should feel stigmatized about pregnancy.