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The Perception of Pregnancy and Parenthood Among Female Orthopaedic Surgery Residents

Mulcahey, Mary K. MD; Nemeth, Chelsea BS; Trojan, Jeffrey D. MS; O'Connor, Mary I. MD

JAAOS - Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons: July 15, 2019 - Volume 27 - Issue 14 - p 527–532
doi: 10.5435/JAAOS-D-18-00216
Research Article
SDC

Introduction: Orthopaedic surgery has the lowest percentage of female residents of all surgical specialties. Female medical students may believe that the demands of the specialty, both during training and in clinical practice, may be less conducive to becoming a parent. The purpose of this study was to determine the perceptions of and experiences with pregnancy and parenthood among female orthopaedic surgery trainees.

Methods: An anonymous 24-question online survey was distributed to all current female orthopaedic surgery trainees in the United States via the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Diversity Advisory Board. Survey questions included the demographics of the residents' programs, the parental status of the respondents, and their experiences with pregnancy and parenthood during training.

Results: Of the respondents, 83.7% did not have children during residency and were not currently pregnant. Furthermore, 48.4% responded that they had deferred having children because they were in residency. One hundred and thirteen respondents (59.5%) reported that they experienced bias from co-residents about women having children during residency, whereas 94 (49.5%) reported such bias from attendings.

Conclusion: This study demonstrates that most female orthopaedic trainees do not have children during residency. Most respondents experienced bias from co-residents about women having children during residency, and nearly half experienced such bias from orthopaedic attendings. Combating bias about pregnancy during residency may help encourage more women to pursue a career in orthopaedics.

From the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Tulane University School of Medicine, New Orleans, LA (Dr. Mulcahey and Mr. Trojan), Drexel University College of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA (Ms. Nemeth), and the Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation, Center for Musculoskeletal Care, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT (Dr. O'Connor).

Correspondence to Dr. Mulcahey: mary.mulcahey.md@gmail.com

Dr. Mulcahey or an immediate family member is a member of a speakers’ bureau or has made paid presentations on behalf of Arthrex and serves as a board member, owner, officer, or committee member of American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine, Arthroscopy Association of North America, and Ruth Jackson Orthopaedic Society. Dr. O'Connor or an immediate family member serves as a paid consultant to Zimmer Biomet; serves as an unpaid consultant to and has stock or stock options held in Accelalox; and has received research or institutional support from ConforMIS. Mr. Trojan has nothing to disclose. None of the authors nor any immediate family member has received anything of value from or has stock or stock options held in a commercial company or institution related directly or indirectly to the subject of this article.

© 2019 by American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
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