Moms in Medicine
While digging through different scholarly article engines, I am coming to realize a very common trend. It seems to me that in every paper or article I read in regards to women physicians and having children during clinical practice and training, the authors point out the fact that this topic has been minimally addressed and lacks proper research and documentation. Authors from the Dr. Mom Cohort Study Protocol stated in their article, Reproductive patterns, pregnancy outcomes and parental leave practices of women physicians in Ontario, Canada: “Evidence from qualitative studies and surveys of women physicians raise concerns that pregnancy and motherhood may jeopardize career advancement, reduce job and fellowship opportunities, negatively impact referral patterns and result in resentment from colleagues who may feel hampered with a greater workload.” In this article, they also pointed out how the institutional support for women physicians who are pregnant and or have children is extremely inconsistent and that there is a drastic disproportion in the burden of home and parenting obligations compared with physician fathers. Literature is also lacking when determining whether or not physicians have more complications/ challenges with pregnancy outcomes, such as preterm labor, increased risk of hypertensive disorders, and low birth weight. In addition, women physicians who do decide to have children generally do so at older ages which puts them at a higher risk for complications.
I was surprised but not at the same time when discovering this information. A surprise has given the fact that since there is an influx of women physicians entering the medical field, how come topics such as this haven’t been addressed or researched more thoroughly. However, I also wasn’t surprised to see a lack of knowledge on this topic because there are issues that are rarely talked about in the medical community along with a great amount of unspoken controversy. With that being said, I most definitely am more intrigued to continue to research this area of women doctors in the medical field who have had or want to have children and their experiences. Also, I am interested to see how institutions are responding to this information and what changes are being made to the system. Also in my paper, I want to conduct a survey of my own focusing specifically on LA County Hospital and Keck School of Medicine at USC, and how as an institution they are addressing these issues, as well as obtaining experiences of the working women physician mothers, and what their journeys and experiences were like.