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Chip Whitley

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I am a nontraditional student applying to medical school for the 2017 cycle (entering school in 2017). My husband and I have decided to start a family this year and I have been working very hard to figure out if this will be detrimental to the application process.

My original plan was to get pregnant in July or August (I know, I know, timing rarely works that way!). I figured that way during interview season I wouldn’t be too noticeably pregnant. Recently though I found out that interview season stretches into February and March, which would mean that I would be six or seven months pregnant if I am interviewing that late in the season.

We really want to have a baby before I start school, but I’m now freaked out that schools will reject me once they see that I am pregnant. What do you guys think? Should I postpone getting pregnant? Will places reject me if they see that I am pregnant? Am I super dumb to be even thinking about doing this?
 

futuremdforme

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What are your options? Are you considering delaying the pregnancy, or delaying your app cycle? If you're set on the pregnancy at that time, I would just do it and make sure to apply early since most interviews are early on. A friend of mine interviewed at professional schools (not MD) while visibly pregnant and addressed it -- she was accepted everywhere and started with a 3 month old baby. Worst case scenario, you have to reapply or wait a year...

I would expect that legal or not, your chances of acceptance would be lower at schools where the bump is very visible. :(
 
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Chip Whitley

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What are your options? Are you considering delaying the pregnancy, or delaying your app cycle? If you're set on the pregnancy at that time, I would just do it and make sure to apply early since most interviews are early on. A friend of mine interviewed at professional schools (not MD) while visibly pregnant and addressed it -- she was accepted everywhere and started with a 3 month old baby. Worst case scenario, you have to reapply or wait a year...

I would expect that legal or not, your chances of acceptance would be lower at schools where the bump is very visible. :(

Thanks for your reply. I agree that being visibly pregnant during an interview would probably be a strike against my application. I'm not really willing to delay applying. I've already spent a good amount of time preparing to apply this year and have lined up my letters, personal statement , etc. I guess if it was between apply or baby applying would win out.

It's interesting what you said about applying early. If I apply in June can I expect to have earlier interviews? That would give me a lot of hope in terms of not looking too pregnant for interviews.






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futuremdforme

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Thanks for your reply. I agree that being visibly pregnant during an interview would probably be a strike against my application. I'm not really willing to delay applying. I've already spent a good amount of time preparing to apply this year and have lined up my letters, personal statement , etc. I guess if it was between apply or baby applying would win out.

It's interesting what you said about applying early. If I apply in June can I expect to have earlier interviews? That would give me a lot of hope in terms of not looking too pregnant for interviews.
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Probably, be sure to get your secondaries in on time too. most secondaries are the same (or similar) as the previous year and you can use the threads available now in school-specific threads for prompts.

Another option is to wait a year for baby and aim for delivering in the summer between MS1 and MS2. It's a similar amount of time to recover, and if you needed a LOA, it's pretty understandable. It kind of depends on which is a non-negotiable in your life, since you might not get in this year, then face the same thing next year, etc... If your app is really strong and you apply broadly, I'd expect you to have interviews by Sept/Oct if you submit primaries in the 1st week and secondaries as soon as they come out.
 

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I would be cautious taking a LOA during med school. Although it may be understandable given one's situation, this is something that will most likely work against one's residency application.

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Goro

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Rejecting you because you're pregnant is discriminatory and can get schools sued.

Just apply. Even if you showed up 9 months pregnant, I'd treat you like any other applicant, and then regale your with parents stories.

Look, there's no good time to get pregnant in a medical career, except maybe when you're Professor Emeritus, so go ahead and have the baby now.

I've had students become moms....even 2x!


I am a nontraditional student applying to medical school for the 2017 cycle (entering school in 2017). My husband and I have decided to start a family this year and I have been working very hard to figure out if this will be detrimental to the application process.

My original plan was to get pregnant in July or August (I know, I know, timing rarely works that way!). I figured that way during interview season I wouldn’t be too noticeably pregnant. Recently though I found out that interview season stretches into February and March, which would mean that I would be six or seven months pregnant if I am interviewing that late in the season.

We really want to have a baby before I start school, but I’m now freaked out that schools will reject me once they see that I am pregnant. What do you guys think? Should I postpone getting pregnant? Will places reject me if they see that I am pregnant? Am I super dumb to be even thinking about doing this?
 
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Seems to me that being pregnant would be a polarizing feature.

There are people who would judge negatively, but there are also people who would admire your persistence in the fact of obstacles.

If I were on an adcom, I would chuckle with the knowledge that you had done the dirty at least one time, and then consider your sGPA, EC's and your MCAT.
 
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futuremdforme

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I would be cautious taking a LOA during med school. Although it may be understandable given one's situation, this is something that will most likely work against one's residency application.

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Sure it's not perfect, but depending on age, waiting until med school is over is not an option for some people, and it's still better than waiting until baby making is over to pursue med school. (since it's hard to tell how long it will take to get pregnant!) If the alternative is pursue a super competitive residency but reduce the chances of a healthy baby, well, that's a trade-off a lot of people aren't willing to take. If you wanted something less competitive, I have a hard time thinking that residencies would discriminate against an applicant who took time off due to a baby (especially since it means they're less likely to take time off for a baby than their younger colleagues!)
 

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Rejecting you because you're pregnant is discriminatory and can get schools sued.

Absolutely true, however, I had that exact situation happen to me after physician assistant school. I just didn't get called back after multiple job interviews. I thought it was me until one of my interviewers told me, "My boss said I could I hire you if you came back after the baby was born." His boss was a woman. :mad: <no, I didn't sue.>

The honest truth is that it happens all the time to women. You just don't find out the pregnancy was why. They come up with other excuses. With thousands medical students applying to even lower tier schools every year, it's easy to say someone else was a better fit for their school without mentioning a pregnancy at all.

My advice is don't risk your medical school interviews with a pregnancy. Pick the one that is more important to you right now and do that first.

For example, apply to medical school and when you find out you're accepted, then get pregnant. Or plan for a delivery in the early summer after first year of medical school. (Being tired during a pregnancy, could make medical school a lot harder on you.) Or postpone medical school for a year or two. They're all good options. It just depends on what you and your family want.
 
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futuremdforme

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My advice is don't risk your medical school interviews with a pregnancy. Pick the one that is more important to you right now and do that first.

She would have to apply to med school before attempting pregnancy. Why should she put her life on hold for something that has maybe a 50% chance of happening in the desired time frame?

Worst case scenario, she interviews, is discriminated against, and reapplies. She does some volunteer work, etc and reapplies, and gets in at the same time as waiting a year to apply. Most interviews really would be before she would show anyway, and she could potentially have offers before any spring interviews, etc.
 
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Chip Whitley

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Based on some of the posts here I think I'm going to go my original route. I'll apply early (was already planning to) and I guess hope that applying early gets me interviews before I am showing. I do understand that discrimination based on pregnancy status is illegal, but I also believe that what @Darth Doc wrote is true. My chances would decrease if people knew that I was pregnant.
 

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It all depends on one's priority. And there is nothing wrong with whichever way one chooses.

When it comes down to residency though, any red flag (eg. LOA) will work against residency application regardless of specialty. If you have any sort of control, why take a chance?

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No one mentioned the obvious:

Have you talked to anyone IN medical school WITH a baby? Not to dissuade you but to give you perspective on HOW to make it work? That might come in handy for interviews if you are looking pregnant; you could answer that you've investigated how other parents manage med school and very, very young children.

That would seem to me to give you a leg up :)
 
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occams_razor

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Sure it's not perfect, but depending on age, waiting until med school is over is not an option for some people, and it's still better than waiting until baby making is over to pursue med school. (since it's hard to tell how long it will take to get pregnant!) If the alternative is pursue a super competitive residency but reduce the chances of a healthy baby, well, that's a trade-off a lot of people aren't willing to take. If you wanted something less competitive, I have a hard time thinking that residencies would discriminate against an applicant who took time off due to a baby (especially since it means they're less likely to take time off for a baby than their younger colleagues!)

There are women who have babies in med school without taking a leave. At one of my interviews I met someone who had a baby during MS2. She said the school was accommodating and she didn't need to take a leave. There is also this blogger - http://alittlebitoflacquer.blogspot.com
She had her first child in med school and her second in intern year. She graduated from harvard med and is doing derm. Her husband was also a harvard med student who matched into ophthalmology. She has written about time management in med school when you have a family.

Here's another great article on the topic of pregnancy in med school - http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/03/opinion/sunday/pregnant-in-medical-school.html?_r=0
 
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tarot

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I was just about to suggest A Little Bit of Lacquer! She's seems like a good example of "trying to have it all." Cute kids, handsome husband, matching to an extremely competitive residency...this lady is my idol ;)

I've followed her blog for a few months and it appears that she has a really good support system in the form of in-laws, grandparents, supportive spouse, etc.. I think without that, it would be much, much harder.
 

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I think this is a reasonable fear. I bet some schools will (consciously or not) be less inclined to accept you if you are very pregnant during the interviews. That being said, do you want to go to a school that is like that?

As others have said, if you apply early then you should be able to interview at most places before winter. I finished my applications this year at the earliest possible moment and the bulk of my interview invites came in September/October.

Good luck with everything!

As a side note since this is your first one there's a big possibility you won't obviously show until pretty late into the pregnancy.


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Gastrapathy

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It doesn't get easier to have kids later. You enter a phase where you will be auditioning and interviewing again really soon. Better to get the family going now. Medical schools are large organizations and less likely to discriminate that program directors.
 
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Chip Whitley

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@occams_razor and @tarot that's so much for the blog recommendation. She is super successful with being a mom and in medical school (pregnant while in intern year!), but it's clear to me that family support has been key in that success. Reading the blog has made me much more open to help from my mother in law after the baby (she is basically ready to move in!)

I understand that no time is good to have a baby in medical school and that you should just go for it. I just want to make sure that I am able to give myself the best chance to get it. I'll keep everyone posted on how this goes. I'm sure there are others who want to do the same thing that I'm interested in doing, so we can learn together!


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ADSigMel

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I don't have much in the way of practical advice, but this thread has certainly made me grateful this is a non-issue for me. I had my three already (after law school), so at least I don't have to worry about pregnancy/infancy/toddlerhood while applying/attending Med school. I can only imagine how trying that must be. I mean, whether an ad com would take it negatively or not, it sounds HARD!


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Chip Whitley

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@ADSigMel I certainly don't expect it to be easy. The alternative (waiting till I'm 33 after medical school or like 37 after residency) just isn't something we are willing to do. I've been reading a lot about moms who have their babies in medical school. It sounds hard, but doable, especially if you have family near.
 

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Have you read the blog Anna In Med School? She was a non-trad who linked to UPenn and had 2 babies in med school (took 5 years yo graduate due to baby + master's degree). Her husband was in residency at the time and didn't have a super flexible lifestyle but they clearly made it work!
 
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willow84

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I'm having the same debate as you. Well, except that I'm 31 now, will be 33 when I (hopefully) matriculate and then 37 when I start my intern year. My husband and I keep going back-and-forth about waiting until I'm 38 and in a residency program or doing this in medical school. We won't have family near so it will be on us to manage everything. Every time I settle on a decision I change it a few weeks later.
 
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ADSigMel

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@ADSigMel I certainly don't expect it to be easy. The alternative (waiting till I'm 33 after medical school or like 37 after residency) just isn't something we are willing to do. I've been reading a lot about moms who have their babies in medical school. It sounds hard, but doable, especially if you have family near.

I'll bet having family close by makes a huge difference. Even if you don't though, it's certainly possible to make it work. It's just hard. Having kids is hard, and med school is hard. Honestly, I doubt doing both at the same time is twice as hard as doing either one at once, so you might as well go for it. I mean, having children isn't like being an Olympic gymnast or something - enough of your professors and classmates will have gone through it that everyone will be understanding and supportive as you work through the challenges. If you've gotten this far down the road to becoming a doctor, you're clearly not afraid of doing difficult things, so you're as capable as anyone else.
 
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ejw5075

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@ADSigMel I certainly don't expect it to be easy. The alternative (waiting till I'm 33 after medical school or like 37 after residency) just isn't something we are willing to do. I've been reading a lot about moms who have their babies in medical school. It sounds hard, but doable, especially if you have family near.

It's so doable. Youll have to make sacrifices along the way but I would never delay having children for a job.

I interviewed for residency visibly pregnant and it was a non issue. I was very open with interviewers and though most didn't bring it up, I always did. They don't know you other than what is in your application so it needs to be clear there is a plan A, B and C.
 
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DrMikeP

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It's so doable. Youll have to make sacrifices along the way but I would never delay having children for a job.

I interviewed for residency visibly pregnant and it was a non issue. I was very open with interviewers and though most didn't bring it up, I always did. They don't know you other than what is in your application so it needs to be clear there is a plan A, B and C.

If "they" bring it up they are breaking the law and most know that. I've seen people get into trouble for even after the interview was over congratulating an applicant for being pregnant and asking when she was due.
 

Chip Whitley

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It's so doable. Youll have to make sacrifices along the way but I would never delay having children for a job.

I interviewed for residency visibly pregnant and it was a non issue. I was very open with interviewers and though most didn't bring it up, I always did. They don't know you other than what is in your application so it needs to be clear there is a plan A, B and C.

@ejw5075 It sounds like you didn't have a hard time interviewing well while visibly pregnant, so I'm wondering what you said to put the interviewer's mind at ease about taking you on.
 

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People couldn't tell I was pregnant for months (like 6 of them)... wear bigger clothes. Don't worry so much.
 
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DrMikeP

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There will always be some who don't want to deal with someone taking time off for a baby. Just part of life.

Perhaps the better question would be would you want to do a residency or med school at a place that wouldn't want you if you were pregnant?

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ADSigMel

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And that is horrible, and so hard to live up to!

Depends on the pregnancy and the person. I was back in the courtroom when my third child was four days old. My client needed me, and I felt fine. Childbirth isn't always a disabling event. It's not really about anyone else trying to "live up to" anyone else's experience. It's just that everyone's experience is different, and no one, especially someone who has never had a child before, can begin to imagine what their own experience will be. I mean, if I had a fourth kid, I might be out of commission for the next year - you just never know.


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Chip Whitley

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Just wanted to update this thread to let people know how the interview season is turning out for me. I got pregnant in June and made sure I sent in all my application the first week I could. I also made sure I turned around secondaries within two weeks of receiving them. As of today I have had four interviews and one acceptance.

Because my interviews have been fairly early in the pregnancy I have not had to address the issue. My most recent one was at 20 weeks pregnant and I had to buy an entire new suite to fit into, though I believe I looked more chubby then anything. At this point if I receive any further interviews I think the jig is up and I'll have to get comfortable wearing a maternity suit and maybe having a response ready about my plans for how to juggle medical school and a new baby.

I'll try to update this thread at the end of the interview season and maybe some ways into my first year. I didn't find any other threads about interviewing while pregnant, so I'm hoping someone finds this helpful.


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MrFixIt

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Just wanted to update this thread to let people know how the interview season is turning out for me. I got pregnant in June and made sure I sent in all my application the first week I could. I also made sure I turned around secondaries within two weeks of receiving them. As of today I have had four interviews and one acceptance.

Because my interviews have been fairly early in the pregnancy I have not had to address the issue. My most recent one was at 20 weeks pregnant and I had to buy an entire new suite to fit into, though I believe I looked more chubby then anything. At this point if I receive any further interviews I think the jig is up and I'll have to get comfortable wearing a maternity suit and maybe having a response ready about my plans for how to juggle medical school and a new baby.

I'll try to update this thread at the end of the interview season and maybe some ways into my first year. I didn't find any other threads about interviewing while pregnant, so I'm hoping someone finds this helpful.


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Congrats on the baby & acceptance!
 
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