Female residents more likely to put off parenthood compared to their male counterparts, study says

Residency Program Insider, April 20, 2010

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A new study finds that female residents are more likely to wait until they’re finished with their residency training to have children more than male residents.

Researchers at University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) surveyed more than 400 residents from 11 different surgical and nonsurgical residency programs, according to a UAB press release. The study found that 27% of female respondents planned to have children during residency whereas 41% of males reported planning to have children during residency.

Women cited the following reasons for delaying childbearing:

  • 47% said they would have to extend their training
  • 43% said it would jeopardize their career goals
  • 38% said they would be at a greater risk from impacts of pregnancy complications
  • 21% said they would potentially lose fellowships or other training opportunities

According to study authors, these findings are significant because more women are entering training programs. “Work-hour limitations allow residents more personal time to devote to parenting, and residency training coincides with crucial childbearing ages for women. By postponing pregnancy, women may unknowingly be sacrificing their desire for children for that of their careers,” the press release stated.

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