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  • When to have kids?

    I'm currently PGY3, just turned 33. I'm afraid of getting pregnant while in residency, as with everyone else in the program. I have one more year left and hoping I can start trying after I'm done with residency but also fear that I might miss my chance. Everyone tells me that it's against the law and all other reasons that I should try if I wanted to have kids but again still afraid of being reprimanded. Some say that if you're stressed, you're not going to have a easy time conceiving, which in a semi-scientifically makes sense and I've witnessed first hand with my colleagues. Not sure what to do. I would appreciate any advice. Thank you.

  • #2
    "still afraid of being reprimanded." As long as your "family situation" is favorable for raising a child, you are mistaken to let a potential fear run your life. Wrong reason for not starting a family. Yes, it will bring all types of other issues. Dealing with them is a different challenge. That's what happens when you have kids. Probably for 20 years or so.
    Residency will not love you back. Good luck.

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    • #3
      If you want kids I think you should look for a way to have kids. luckily you were only one year from the end of training so likely waiting one more year would not be too hard but if that is not what you want to do you need to do what you and your spouse want to do. Nobody can force you not to get pregnant. And nobody can treat you unfairly if you do get pregnant. And there are legal avenues and ramifications that can happen to them if they do. It is easy to think and say that and more difficult to actually go through with it but those protections are there if you need them.

      What what specialty are you? Would your co-residents be helpful?

      I had a child the end of my second year of a family medicine residency. However I am the man in the relationship which might change the Dynamics a little bit. We have plenty of other children in the program. We are a very supportive program for families.

      Best of luck to you and your spouse making this decision. Really the only people who should have any say are you and your spouse.

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      • #4
        There is never going to be a time where someone doesn’t judge you for getting pregnant, taking time off for maternity leave, etc etc. Heck even if you decide you don’t want kids people will judge you for that. It’s pretty sad that everyone in your residency is afraid of this. Has there been a precedent causing this fear or is it just the culture of the place? Either way, if you want to have children the last year of residency is as good a time as any. From my experience with friends going through this at various stages the timing issues/issues with other people having opinions about your reproductive timing don’t get any easier in your first several years of practice. You sound like you are afraid of making other people upset/getting reprimanded. Being able to politely but firmly stand up for yourself and pursue what you want is an essential skill in medicine that too many of us do not develop during our training. Now is a good time to start practicing.

        Reminds me of when one of my co-residents got pregnant and told us all before she told the program director “I’m worried he’s going to be mad at me” and one of the other residents laughed and said “for what? for having sex?” Gave us all including her a good laugh.

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        • #5
          Tim, Thank you for the stern reality check. I can't let fear run my life. This has been a challenging aspect throughout my life, which I've been working on but from time to time get so caught up again forgetting my initial goals..


          Lordosis, Thank you so much for your input and your experience. I know my co-residents would be helpful and supportive but my PD has hinted having kids during residency may not be beneficial because we would have to make up the 6 weeks missed in order to graduate and there isn't really room to place an extra resident when the new academic year start... but again I think I'm realizing that I can't really let anyone dictate what I want to do with my life.

          Anne, thank you for your input and story. I've only heard but one resident long long time ago who had a child. again like what I wrote to Lordosis, PD said there it would be hard for pregnant resident to graduate because we'd be missing 6 weeks and would have to make that up to graduate. also has hinted in regards to returning back to work after 2 weeks of having a child...everyone else including former residents that I know were pretty scared to have kids during residency and have waited until after graduation to have kids. and one i know is having a hard time conceiving now. But after reading everyone's comments, you're right: stand up for myself and pursue what I want politely but firmly is definitely an essential skill I need not just in medicine but in life. Thank you again. Your last comment regarding your co-resident made me laugh.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Ponyo View Post
            I'm afraid of getting pregnant while in residency
            Easy fix.

            https://www.google.com/search?q=ugly+frocks
            ____________________________

            Welcome to the board. There is always an excuse to wait to have kids. A reason can always be found to "wait 1 more year". If you feel its the right time, just do it. (Pun intended.) Other's have done it so I can be done. It won't be easy. But nothing good is easy.

            What's worse? Missing your chance to have children or missing your chance to be a doctor? And I'm completely serious. There isn't a wrong answer. But... you don't have to choose. Have your cake & eat it too. (Not insinuating you eat your child, though I hear often enough people speaking to children "I could just eat you up". I'd rather eat ice cream...)
            $1 saved = >$1 earned. ✓

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            • #7
              If you want a kid now go for it. Nothing is going to change unless someone changes things up. Unfortunately having a kid is residency is tough even if your residency is pretty decent about it - 3rd year should be a bit easier especially if you can time the harder rotations for before birth. You are protected for 6-8 weeks of medical leave after birth but not after that. My kid was abysmal and patient care would have suffered if I had to go back at 6 weeks, although obviously tons of mamas do this regularly in the US and survive. Watching moms try to pump while covering icu was terrible - certain attendings would drag on and on and they would be bursting by the end. Depending on your job having a kids after residency is much easier. Folks I know take 4-6 months leave (not necessarily all paid), have scheduled pumping time with reduced patient load, much more reasonable schedules, money to pay for help, etc, etc. most people join and then pop out their 2.5 kids starting 6 months into the job...

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              • #8
                Residency is the best time to have kids. You generally have reasonable healthcare. You are also low on the pay scale. If it takes you an extra 6 month who cares? My wife and I are both physicians and after she only took 6 weeks for our first child I have insisted on at least 3 months for the next 2.


                Don’t cut your family short for a sense of obligation. The program generally owes you more than you owe it anyway.

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                • #9
                  Reprimanded? Fortunately there are employment laws in this country. Your residency will have to work around your pregnancy not vice versa. Not that it will necessarily be nice or easy. Note that there is never a good time to get pregnant. There will always be competing life issues.

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                  • #10
                    Retired OB here. There is never a good time. You just have to make a decision and do it. Agree with BMAC there are employment laws. Stand up for yourself. If your program has never had a pregnant resident then something is wrong with the program. Your PD needs to learn to be a willow and bend in the wind.

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                    • #11
                      Have times changed? Back in the old days, granted north of the border, residency was exactly when everyone wanted to have their children if possible. Mainly because coverage was not an issue and one was still reasonably young. Maternity leave was guaranteed and programmes were very flexible with no set time length. Yes perhaps there was a little resentment on the part of some of those left behind to cover, especially in smaller programmes, but I think even that decreased significantly once work place hour limits went into place and hospitalists, extended role nurses and PAs became available to fill the void. And also staff MDs just learned to do without residents at times.

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                      • #12
                        My wife had kids right after she finished fellowship and joined a university practice. They knew that she was pregnant when they hired her, and gave her 3 months paid leave as an attending right after she joined. That was the idea time to have a baby. The problem with having a baby during residency is that you have to make up the months that you are maternity leave. Nothing wrong with having a baby then, a lot of attending jobs don't provide maternity leave benefits the first year you join. I don't think that you are technically even covered under fmla the first year you join.

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                        • #13
                          Wow. I thoughts times have changed with extended maternity leave, paternity leave, FMLA, and limits on resident's hours. If this is a good time for you to have a baby - I would encourage you to do so. Waiting can make things harder. Being a new attending is not a great time either. I got flack from other residents when I got pregnant during residency. It was really tough at the time. Just to stick it to them I went ahead and had a second baby. Best of luck!

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                          • #14
                            We had our first in residency. Despite the program not being friendly to pregnancies, seemed that one or two residents had a kid each year while we were there. She was capped at 6 weeks, 4 of which were her annual vacation, and had to make up call. (Btw make up call BEFORE baby comes!)
                            It was difficult for her. "This is why female physicians should get paid less" and other nauseating tropes. You have to work harder because people will be watching you closely waiting for you to slip up. And don't complain about it, ever. People will ask with a sad face how you're doing (35 weeks and on her feet all day, no lunch and bladder is exploding. how ya think?) but never but give an inch. Don't give the naysayers any ammo.

                            Ultimately you gotta live your life! Try for a kid!

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                            • #15
                              You should not have to make up call. Maternity leave (6 weeks post birth ) is for recovery from childbirth. They do not have other people make up call from sick leave. I think that is against the GME regulations. You need to take care of yourself and getting enough rest is part of that. They can add time on the end for the weeks you missed. That is to be expected.

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