Perspectives of pregnancy and motherhood among general surgery residents: A qualitative analysis

Erika L. Rangel, Manuel Castillo-Angeles, Marguerite Changala, Adil H. Haider, Gerard M. Doherty, Douglas S. Smink

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Citations (Scopus)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)754-759
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Surgery
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Attrition
  • Motherhood
  • Parenting
  • Pregnancy
  • Surgical residency


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