Motherhood during residency training: challenges and strategies.
OBJECTIVE: To determine what factors enable or impede women in a Canadian family medicine residency program from combining motherhood with residency training. To determine how policies can support these women, given that in recent decades the number of female family medicine residents has increased. DESIGN: Qualitative study using in-person interviews. SETTING: McMaster University Family Medicine Residency Program. PARTICIPANTS: Twenty-one of 27 family medicine residents taking maternity leave between 1994 and 1999. METHOD: Semistructured interviews. The research team reviewed transcripts of audiotaped interviews for emerging themes; consensus was reached on content and meaning. NVIVO software was used for data analysis. MAIN FINDINGS: Long hours, unpredictable work demands, guilt because absences from work increase workload for colleagues, and residents' high expectations of themselves cause pregnant residents severe stress. This stress continues upon return to work; finding adequate child care is an added stress. Residents report receiving less support from colleagues and supervisors upon return to work; they associate this with no longer being visibly pregnant. Physically demanding training rotations put additional strain on pregnant residents and those newly returned to work. Flexibility in scheduling rotations can help accommodate needs at home. Providing breaks, privacy, and refrigerators at work can help maintain breastfeeding. Allowing residents to remain involved in academic and clinical work during maternity leave helps maintain clinical skills, build new knowledge, and promote peer support. CONCLUSION: Pregnancy during residency training is common and becoming more common. Training programs can successfully enhance the experience of motherhood during residency by providing flexibility at work to facilitate a healthy balance among the competing demands of family, work, and student life. (+info)
Improving return-to-work after childbirth: design of the [email protected] study, a randomised controlled trial and cohort study.
BACKGROUND: Many women suffer from health problems after giving birth, which can lead to sick leave. About 30% of Dutch workers are on sick leave after maternity leave. Structural contact of supervisors with employees on maternity leave, supported by early medical advice of occupational physicians, may increase the chances of return-to-work after maternity leave. In addition, to understand the process of sick leave and return-to-work after childbirth it is important to gain insight into which factors hinder return-to-work after childbirth, as well, as which prognostic factors lead to the development of postpartum health complaints. In this paper, the design of the [email protected] study is described. METHODS: The [email protected] study is simultaneously a randomised controlled trial and a cohort study. Pregnant women working for at least 12 hours a week at one of the 15 participating companies are eligible to participate. The supervisors of these pregnant employees are randomised at 35 weeks pregnancy into the intervention group or control group. During maternity leave, supervisors in the intervention group contact their employee six weeks after delivery using a structured interview. When employees do not expect to return to their jobs at the end of their scheduled maternity leave due to health problems, the supervisor offers early support of the occupational physician. Supervisors in the control group have no structural contact with their employees during maternity leave. Measurements take place at 30 weeks pregnancy and at 6, 12, 24 and 52 weeks postpartum. In addition, cost data are collected. For the RCT, primary outcome measures are sick leave and return-to-work, and secondary outcome measures are costs, health, satisfaction with intervention and global feelings of recovery. Outcome measures for the cohort are pregnancy-related pelvic girdle pain, fatigue and depression. Finally, a number of prognostic factors for return-to-work and for the development of complaints will be measured. DISCUSSION: The [email protected] study will provide important information about return-to-work of employees after giving birth. Results will give insight in prognosis of postpartum sick leave and complaints. Also, the role of supervisors and occupational physicians in successful return-to-work after childbirth will be clarified. (+info)
Need for and use of family leave among parents of children with special health care needs.
OBJECTIVE: Parents of children with special health care needs are especially vulnerable to work-family conflicts that family leave benefits might help resolve. We examined leave-taking among full-time-employed parents of children with special health care needs. METHODS: We identified all children with special health care needs in 2 large inpatient/outpatient systems in Chicago, Illinois, and Los Angeles, California, and randomly selected 800 per site. From November 2003 to January 2004, we conducted telephone interviews with 1105 (87% of eligible and successfully contacted) parents. Among the sample's 574 full-time-employed parents, we examined whether leave benefits predicted missing any work for child illness, missing >4 weeks for child illness, and ability to miss work whenever their child needed them. RESULTS: Forty-eight percent of full-time-employed parents qualified for federal Family and Medical Leave Act benefits; 30% reported employer-provided leave benefits (not including sick leave/vacation). In the previous year, their children averaged 20 missed school/child care days, 12 doctor/emergency department visits, and 1.7 hospitalizations. Although 81% of parents missed work for child illness, 41% reported not always missing work when their child needed them, and 40% of leave-takers reported returning to work too soon. In multivariate regressions, parents who were eligible for Family and Medical Leave Act benefits and aware of their eligibility had 3.0 times greater odds of missing work for child illness than ineligible parents. Parents with >4 weeks of employer-provided leave benefits had 4.7 times greater odds of missing >4 weeks than parents without benefits. Parents with paid leave benefits had 2.8 times greater odds than other parents of missing work whenever their child needed them. CONCLUSIONS: Full-time-employed parents of children with special health care needs experience severe work-family conflicts. Although most have leave benefits, many report unmet need for leave. Access to Family and Medical Leave Act benefits and employer-provided leave may greatly affect leave-taking. (+info)
Women residents, women physicians and medicine's future.
The number of women in medicine has increased dramatically in the last few decades, and women now represent half of all incoming medical students. Yet residency training still resembles the historical model when there were few women in medicine. This article reviews the issues facing women in residency today. Data suggest that the experience of female residents is more negative than that of males. Unique challenges facing female residents include the existence of gender bias and sexual harassment, a scarcity of female mentors in leadership positions, and work/family conflicts. Further research is needed to understand the experience of female residents and to identify barriers that hinder their optimal professional and personal development. Structural and cultural changes to residency programs are needed to better accommodate the needs of female trainees. (+info)
Mothers' health and work-related factors at 11 weeks postpartum.
PURPOSE: Many new mothers return to work soon after childbirth. This study examines personal and work-related factors associated with the postpartum health of employed women 11 weeks after childbirth. METHODS: Using a prospective cohort design, we recruited 817 Minnesota mothers into the study while they were hospitalized for childbirth in 2001. Telephone interviews were conducted at 5 and 11 weeks postpartum. Eligible women were 18 years or older, employed, and spoke English and gave birth to a singleton infant. Multivariate models using instrumental variables (2-stage least squares) were used to estimate personal and employment characteristics associated with women's physical and mental health and postpartum symptoms. RESULTS: At 11 weeks postpartum, 661 participants (81% of enrollees) completed a full interview, and 50% of participants had returned to work. On average, women reported 4.1 (SD 3.2) childbirth-related symptoms, most frequently fatigue (43%). Factors significantly associated with better health outcomes included better preconception health, the absence of prenatal mood problems, more control over work and home activities, more social support at work and home, and less job stress. CONCLUSIONS: The findings suggest postpartum women need to be evaluated regarding their fatigue levels and mental and physical symptoms. Women whose fatigue or postpartum symptoms limit daily role function may find it helpful to have health care clinicians counsel them on strategies to decrease job stress, increase social support at work and home, and certify their use of intermittent family and medical leave to help them manage their symptoms. (+info)
Access to and use of paid sick leave among low-income families with children.
Parental leave policies and parents' employment and leave-taking.
We describe trends in maternal employment and leave-taking after birth of a newborn and analyze the extent to which these behaviors are influenced by parental leave policies. Data are from the June Current Population Survey (CPS) Fertility Supplements, merged with other months of the CPS, and cover the period 1987 to 1994. This time span is one during which parental leave legislation expanded at both the state and federal level. We also provide the first comprehensive examination of employment and leave-taking by fathers of infants. Our main finding is that leave expansions are associated with increased leave-taking by both mothers and fathers. The magnitudes of the changes are small in absolute terms but large relative to the baseline for men and much greater for college-educated or married mothers than for their less-educated or single counterparts. (+info)