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Baby during intern year

Discussion in 'General Residency Issues' started by vashka, Aug 2, 2016.

  1. vashka

    vashka Junior Member 10+ Year Member

    May 25, 2005
    Summary: Female in early-mid 30s applying for the match this year. Concerned that if I don't have a child now, I may have a much harder time starting a family later...and husband and I want at least 2 kids. Question when to plan for a baby in the context of starting intern year in IM next year. Please advise, especially if this is something you actually did.
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  3. northernpsy

    northernpsy Psychiatrist. No, I'm not analyzing you

    Jan 20, 2016
    There is no perfect time to have a baby, just different challenges at different times. I had my baby as a new attending, which was challenging in different ways than residency would have been. I do agree with you that it is better to have a child in your early 30s than to gamble that you will be able to get pregnant and have a healthy pregnancy after you've entered the Advanced Maternal Age zone.
    My suggestions would be:
    Most importantly, make sure you have an iron clad plan for childcare arrangements. If you have family and friends in the area then that would be very helpful. Otherwise, you will definitely want to come up with a backup plan for situations like if your babysitter/nanny doesn't show up or the baby is too sick to go to daycare.
    Once you are pregnant, tell the people doing the call/rotation schedules early so they can try to find ways to limit how disruptive your maternity leave is to other residents. While babies are just a normal part of life and not something to feel apologetic over, I do think it is considerate to do what you can to avoid making it chaotic for the people who have to cover for you.
  4. Crayola227

    Crayola227 Only in Death Does Duty End Physician 2+ Year Member

    Oct 22, 2013
    Torturing Heretics
    I know of a male intern that quit because of his infant during intern year, because he never saw the kid.

    I know a Chief that had theirs during intern year and I guess it was fine.

    It all depends. I would rather actually pop the kid out after intern year, and seriously question doing it intern year.

    Depends on your program too. If it's one with a separate intern year before you go advanced, how many years total, procedural vs not, front-loaded vs not, can all affect what is practically speaking the best time to be pregnant/giving birth.

    It has happened that pregnancy related complications have either extended training (if you're lucky) or led to resignations and not keeping your position or graduating a residency.

    Just things to consider.
  5. saqrfaraj

    saqrfaraj Physician 10+ Year Member

    May 16, 2007
    Having a child during intern year will be difficult. Waiting one or two more years would be easier but no time will be perfect. After you match you should talk to your program director/coordinator to determine how they handle maternity leave, vacations, FMLA, etc. If you are considering a fellowship, it will be important to find out how much time you can take off without having to extend your training.

    In the end, you should do what's best for your (growing) family. Remember though, children are born early all the time, so planning will only get you so far.
  6. Raryn

    Raryn Infernal Internist / Enigmatic Endocrinologist Physician 7+ Year Member

    Apr 25, 2008
    The biggest advice I can give is that no matter when you have your child during residency, tell whoever makes the schedule in your program as soon as you have a reasonable idea of when your due date is. Can ask them not to share until you're further along, etc, but planning for any schedule changes is best done as far in advance as possible.

    In addition, you have to understand that the ACGME/ABMS is making it more difficult to take time "off" for things such as maternity leave while still graduating on time. The maximum amount of time you can take off in a year and still graduate on time with eligibility to take your boards is 30 days, but that includes vacation, sick leave, and maternity leave. Program directors have some discretion to request forgiveness for up to another month (total, over the entire residency), but most women I know who took more than a couple weeks of maternity leave without using their vacation time ended up graduating slightly off cycle (which is no big deal except if you plan on doing a fellowship directly out of residency, which may be impacted).
    Winged Scapula likes this.
  7. Ventric

    Ventric Physician 7+ Year Member

    Mar 17, 2008
    We had a child during intern year in a surgical residency. Granted, I am a male, but time with my child is extremely precious and often not as much as I would like.

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  8. ggidgetzz

    ggidgetzz 2+ Year Member

    Mar 10, 2014
    I am a female and spent the majority of my intern year pregnant, had the baby in april. Yes, it was planned, and it was fine. I am in FM but we do a ton of inpatient and I was definitely working 70-80 hrs/wk regularly. It was tough, and I felt I had to work extra hard to show that I wasnt gonna let it effect my work. I did feel like I had more to prove. But, everyone was really supportive, I worked hard, and I didnt feel like it impacted my training negatively.

    Granted, I had an easy pregnancy and delivery with no complications. I was back to work (part time) in 2 weeks. There was always the fear that something would go wrong, but I was lucky.

    Also, and the ONLY way that this was successful for us, is that my husband is now a stay at home dad. Couldnt do it any other way. Feel free to ask if you have any specific questions.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G890A using SDN mobile
    Crayola227 likes this.
  9. Phloston

    Phloston Physician Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 5+ Year Member

    Jan 17, 2012
    Osaka, Japan
    My daughter was born days before I started my third year of med school. And I know people who have had kids at all levels of the career path, from before med school to residency. Just have children whenever you want and don't worry so much about planning everything ahead. Because no matter what you plan, your life will be totally different following the child in ways you could never expect or anticipate. You will be busy no matter when you choose to do it. Granted I'm a male, so perhaps the opposing gender would provide the better insights here.

    I agree with the above poster that communicating your plans effectively to your program, whatever they may be, is prudent.
    Crayola227 likes this.
  10. metalgirl14

    metalgirl14 7+ Year Member

    Feb 18, 2009
    I just started PGY2 year and have a 2 yr old, with another baby on the way. I agree with making sure you have solid childcare plans, whether that be husband, family, nanny, Au pair, or daycare (less ideal). You should try to plan your due date for a rotation that is less busy and if possible, has less call, to decrease the amount of rescheduling needed. Keep in mind, that having a child in residency will likely extend you training a bit (maternity leave, potential complications, etc), but most programs are fine with this. Also keep in mind that it often takes several months to become pregnant (my first took 3 months of trying, second took 5 months). The biggest thing is just to plan for the unexpected with every pregnancy. Make sure you have a back up plan if something unexpected comes up with the pregnancy/delivery/child care. If you have any specific questions, feel free to pm me.
  11. TeaKae

    TeaKae 10+ Year Member

    Jun 27, 2007
    Zombie capitol of the USA
    I started intern year with a 6 month old and had to stop breastfeeding because I couldn't keep up with the clinical workload and pump. So that was very disappointing for me and I hated work for a long time because of it. Also, some people will judge you if you ever have to leave early for a daycare pickup, sick kid, or other unavoidable event. You will work long ass days and have to come home and still be on your "A game" as momma bear no matter how mentally or physically exhausted you are. You won't have as much time to study as your classmates. You'll learn how to manage it and succeed anyway if you got this far. I now have my second baby on the way as a 4th year resident and plan on starting a fellowship July 1st. My senior year will suck more than my classmates, but it's my choice and it's totally worth it because family > work when it's all said and done. The job/institution doesn't love you back, but your people do.
    smq123 likes this.
  12. northernpsy

    northernpsy Psychiatrist. No, I'm not analyzing you

    Jan 20, 2016
    It helps a lot if you have a significant other who is comfortable doing a lot of baby care and has a more flexible job to allow for things like leaving early to pick up a sick kid from daycare. Taking care of a baby is really hard if you're just one person doing it, but honestly it's not that bad when you have some help. Since I was fortunate enough to be able to have my husband stay home on FMLA leave for the first 3 months after my son was born, it was actually a really positive experience. I found being on call for inpatient pediatrics as an intern way more stressful than caring for one healthy baby - seriously.

    My attitude has always been that it is not realistic to try to do EVERYTHING as the mother. It's okay for the dad to be the primary caregiver while mom is trying to work on being the family's breadwinner. The baby still will know who you are and love you even if you don't have the baby constantly attached to your breast, just as kids have loved their dads in previous generations when dad had to be the breadwinner.
  13. ConfusedChemist

    ConfusedChemist 2+ Year Member

    Aug 5, 2014
    There's that whole thing were you didn't actually carry the baby for 9 months, which is essentially the part that would pose the greatest problem in intern year/clerkship.
    metalgirl14 likes this.
  14. saqrfaraj

    saqrfaraj Physician 10+ Year Member

    May 16, 2007
    A father who is or was recently in residency can provide a lot of useful information about becoming a new parent during medical training, although obviously not about everything. I would argue that in most cases the pregnancy is not the biggest hurdle. As mentioned already, managing maternity/paternity leave, scheduling, child care, call, etc. are the big challenges.
  15. ConfusedChemist

    ConfusedChemist 2+ Year Member

    Aug 5, 2014
    Sure, but it's not at all the same thing. Being pregnant is basically putting you out-of-commision (or wishing you were) for at least a month, often 2-3+
    It's the months of exhaustion and various other symptoms before the baby even arrives. And feeding after it's born?

    Not looking to argue, but it's laughable to say that it's equally difficult
  16. saqrfaraj

    saqrfaraj Physician 10+ Year Member

    May 16, 2007
    No one is arguing over which parent's role is more difficult. The OP is seeking advice on becoming a new parent as an intern based on the experiences of others. A father's input shouldn't be diminished just because he didn't carry the pregnancy, which was what your first post suggested. Many of the challenges of becoming a new parent are not unique to mothers only.

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