FRIDAY, Aug. 10, 2018 (HealthDay News) — More than half of women who have a baby during surgical residency express some type of career dissatisfaction, according to a study published online Aug. 1 in JAMA Surgery.

Erika L. Rangel, M.D., from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, and colleagues examined factors associated with professional dissatisfaction for childbearing surgical residents. A survey was distributed in January 2017 to surgeons who delivered at least one child during a U.S. general surgery residency, the survey was available online for four weeks.

The researchers analyzed responses from 347 women (mean age, 30.5 years) with 452 pregnancies. Just over half of respondents (51.6 percent) agreed with at least one statement of residency or career dissatisfaction. Respondents reported that lack of a formal maternity leave policy was associated with “considered leaving” (odds ratio [OR], 1.83), while perception of stigma during pregnancy was associated with “revisit career choice” (OR, 1.79). Women who reported changing fellowship plans due to perceived difficulty balancing motherhood with the originally chosen subspecialty was associated with all three markers of residency and career dissatisfaction (“considered leaving” OR, 2.68; “revisit career choice” OR, 2.23; and “advise against surgery” OR, 2.44).

“To improve professional fulfillment and reduce risk of attrition in residents who undergo childbearing during residency, training programs must implement formal maternity leave policies, reduce pregnancy-related stigma, and foster mentor-mentee relationships supporting work-life integration and fellowship selection,” the authors write.

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