The article by Balk et al1 published in this issue tells us that pediatricians view residency training programs as more harmful to pregnant women and their babies than other jobs women may hold. Pediatricians are not stupid! They know, as does just about everyone else, that a residency is characterized by long hours, most of which are spent on one's feet, irregular meals and erratic sleep schedules, frank sleep deprivation, high stress levels related to having the awesome responsibility for the very lives of patients, forced separation from loved ones and personal support systems, and a mind-and-body-numbing, unending fatigue engendered by all of the above.
Conventional wisdom holds that such conditions can place an undue burden on the pregnant resident. And there is objective evidence that this is so. For the most part, pregnant residents work at an unmodified pace and suffer not only fatigue but often hostility from
HEINS M. Who Will Speak for Working Mothers?. Am J Dis Child. 1990;144(7):755-756. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1990.02150310023018