A new study indicates that women will give up their surgical careers when faced with a pregnancy.
A remarkable new study claims that women in the midst of surgical training who get pregnant will often give up their careers as a result. It provides a stark example of the unique challenges that women who work in medicine face compared to their male counterparts.
Scientists examined a total of 347 female surgeons who had a combined 452 pregnancies and averaged 31 years of age. They found that 86 percent of them work an unmodified schedule until they gave birth, and about two thirds were concerned that the hours they had to work might be a problem for raising their newborns.
In addition to concerns about hours, pregnant female surgeons were also concerned about child care, stigma, and loss of reputation. Researchers say this presents a risk of a loss of expertise in the medical field.
“Surgeons take pride in the intensive training they endure, spending between five and nine years after medical school dedicated to gaining the skillsets needed to provide the best possible care for their patients,” reads a statement from Brigham and Women’s Hospital. “For female surgeons who wish to have children, this means that they either start a family during training, or wait until the end of the lengthy training period often when they are in their mid- to late-30s. Women constitute more than half of today’s medical school graduates, yet they remain underrepresented in general surgery, making up 40 percent of residents and only 18 percent of faculty members in the United States.”