A study in the United States showed that many female surgeons who are pregnant or have children during their training consider giving up their surgical career even before they begin.
The researchers investigated the survey data of 347 female surgeons, whose average age was 31 years. There were a total of 452 pregnancies among them.
Overall, 86% of women do not have an unmodified schedule until birth, and about two-thirds say they are concerned that their working hours may have a negative impact on their babies.
“Women surveyed reported that they are concerned about unrevision of work schedules during pregnancy, dissatisfaction with maternity leave choices, fear of loss of pregnancies during pregnancy, lack of support for breastfeeding and childcare, and a desire to integrate work and life.
There is greater guidance,” said leading researcher Dr. Erika Lu Rangel in Brigham, Boston, and the Women’s Hospital.
“This emphasizes that pregnancy and childcare support can have a significant impact on the decision to pursue or maintain a surgical career,” Rangel said via email.
“In order to attract and retain the most talented candidates, surgical leaders must address the challenges newborns face during hospitalization.”
Researchers reported on the online version of JAMA Surgery on March 21st that a total of 251 women (78%) said that they had less than six weeks of maternity leave. Roughly speaking, the same percentage of women said they did not have enough vacation time.
The study also found that 329 women (96%) said that breastfeeding was very important, and 58% said they had stopped breastfeeding due to lack of breastfeeding facilities and time due to lack of lactation facilities and time to milk at work.
Only 64 women (18%) said they provided childcare services provided or subsidized by employers.
A total of 135 women (39%) stated that they strongly consider leaving their surgical training programs for the challenges they face as they become pregnant and become mothers.
In addition, 102 women (or 30%) stated that they would prevent female medical students from engaging in surgical careers, especially because of the challenges of balancing pregnancy and motherhood and training.
The authors point out that in addition to the scale, another limitation of the study is that online surveys may not represent all women or mothers in the surgical or medical field.
Dr. Kelly McCoy of the University of Pittsburgh and colleagues wrote in a subsequent commentary that many female surgeons have successfully taken care of mothers and medical training.
They pointed out that good guidance during the training may help some women understand how to manage this.
They write that for some parents, the possibility of choosing between taking care of a patient in need of emergency surgery and taking care of the child is too high, which may mean that they should consider different professions.
McCoy and his colleagues wrote: “If the prospect of leaving a concert, a fencing match or a tickling rhythm for emergency surgery is enough to keep a young doctor away from a particular profession, their hearts may guide them in the right direction.”
Despite this, these results further prove that, even if they may be willing to try both, various challenges may prevent women from pursuing surgical careers and maternity, said Dr. Constance Guille, a research fellow at the Medical University of South Carolina. Charleston who did not participate in the study.
“Although none of the findings were unexpected, this work is commendable and highlights the important reason why women are underrepresented in our country’s surgical specialty,” Guille said via email.
“If we want to narrow this gender gap, medical institutions need to make initial investments to support mothers for adequate maternity leave, with day-time nurses and breastfeeding facilities, and appropriate surgical training.”