Introduction: Prior work shows pregnancy during surgical residency may negatively impact career satisfaction and increase risk of attrition. We sought to gain deeper insight into the experience of childbearing trainees. Methods: An electronic survey with three open-ended questions was sent to surgeons who had ≥1 pregnancy during a US general surgery training program. Transcripts were analyzed using directed content analysis and the constant comparative approach. Results: Six themes characterized the pregnancy experience of 219 surgeons in residency. Respondents: 1)desired work modifications during the late stages of pregnancy due to health concerns; 2)regarded maternity leave as too short; 3)perceived stigma related to pregnancy; 4)expressed need for greater lactation and childcare support; 5)desired mentorship on work-family integration; 6)placed value on supportive colleagues and faculty. Conclusion: Pregnancy is challenging during surgical residency. These findings may inform policy changes to improve retention and recruitment of women trainees who wish to begin families during residency.
- Surgical residency