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July 1990

Pediatricians' Attitudes Concerning Motherhood During Residency

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Pediatrics (Drs Balk and Bijur), and the Division of Pediatric Ambulatory Care (Dr Balk), Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY; and the Departments of Pediatrics and Community Health and Preventive Medicine, Northwestern University Medical School, Chicago, Ill (Dr Christoffel).

Am J Dis Child. 1990;144(7):770-777. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1990.02150310038022

• Because half of pediatric residents are women, pregnancy is increasingly common among pediatric house staff. We hypothesized that the heavy work load of pregnant pediatric residents is tolerated because those who have experienced a residency themselves underestimate the strain of residency compared with other work. A questionnaire, designed to survey pediatricians' attitudes concerning the effects of employment on the fetus, mother, and newborn infant, was produced in two formats, which were identical except that one concerned residents, while the other concerned women employed full-time in other jobs. Each type of questionnaire was sent to 1000 randomly selected members of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Respondents in both groups shared many attitudes concerning the effects of maternal employment. Certain subgroups (eg, males, those married to spouses not employed, and those women not pregnant in residency) judged employment as more harmful in general. Contrary to the original hypothesis, however, all subgroups consistently judged residency as more deleterious than other work. Training programs need to adopt humane strategies to integrate motherhood with residency.

(AJDC. 1990;144:770-777)

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