EM Residency Match - How ask about pregnancy support?

This forum made possible through the generous support of SDN members, donors, and sponsors. Thank you.


Full Member
7+ Year Member
Jan 13, 2016
Reaction score
I have gone on 13/15 interviews and am still unable to ascertain how family/pregnancy friendly residency programs are. I am not planning on starting my family until after residency, but I want to know I will be supported if “life finds a way.” Some programs have policies for third trimester and post-baby scheduling and/or subsidized childcare, which is great, but I also want to know more about the culture and co-resident/faculty support. While it is fairly obvious when residents get along/do not, there are not many pregnant or mom residents for me to talk to (and everyone is on their best behavior during interviews). I am wondering if anyone can provide guidance on how I can ask about these things/who I should direct my questions to without hurting my chances. Thanks in advance for your help & happy holidays!

Members don't see this ad.
I think, unfortunately, step 1 should be asking yourself whether this information will truly impact how you rank programs. I wish I could tell you that we finally live in a society where these kinds of questions wouldn’t impact programs’ perceptions of you... but I don’t think we are yet. So make sure that if you’re going to ask that you will actually DO something with that information.

If the answer is yes, or if this would be a tiebreaker between at least a couple of groups of your programs, then if you met individual residents (not chiefs) who you feel that you could reach out to with questions, I might ask them how they see residents with families hold up, and if you could get info to reach out to some of them. I think that’s a little safer than asking the chiefs/PD/PC who may have a more direct role in making the ROL. If you don’t have anyone you can reach out to, then maybe ask the chiefs if you could get contact info for some upper level fellows for “a few follow up questions,” and then proceed as above.

Good luck!
A program where male residents are given and take paternity leave will almost always be supportive of their female residents who have children.

If the men never take time off, a program MIGHT be supportive of the women, but they may have polices on paper that they don't actually want people to use.

My friends and I found asking about paternity leave to be far more illuminating about a programs true attitudes than asking about maternity leave.

Caveat here being I am in psychiatry and it is not hard to find family friendly programs. There definitely are ones that aren't, though. One of my friends upon asking about paternity leave was told 'uh, I guess you can take a week. And then use vacation time." Hard NOPE on the family friendliness at that place.
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user
I asked about resident demographics. Are they mostly single v married and what people do for fun. This usually elicited information about how many residents were married and/or had kids. If a lot of residents had kids I assumed it was family friendly. I’m in psych so YMMV