Jul 17, 2017
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Alrighty so I am a 21 year old, 2nd year pre-med (4th year UG because I switched from music ed which killed my gpa) dead set on being an ER physician. I am just finishing up my EMT-B class and I am absolutely in love with EMS.
I won't graduate from my UG until the fall of 2019, and then I plan on working full time as an EMT (with an iv cert because I have to have it in Colorado in order to find a job anywhere) at least for the following spring and summer semester, and possibly later as a gap year depending on how well the MCAT goes. Basically, I love setting goals and mapping out my life. If I don't get into med school on the first go-around, which I may or may not let's be real here, I will keep working EMS and may consider getting my paramedic.
The only thing that I am just not sure about is starting a family. My boyfriend really, really wants kids. I have absolutely no idea when is the best time for this to happen because I just cannot imagine being pregnant and working 24 hour shifts in the ED. I am also having a hard time imagining being in either med school or residency while pregnant too.
I've seen a few other posts on this forum reassuring various people that "if there is a will, there's a way." The only problem with that is every single post was about a male asking about starting a family with their female significant other.

TL;DR, How do you manage being pregnant while working EMS? Don't care if it's a simple EMT or a resident, what are some stories? Thanks!
 

Lost in Translation

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Well for one, EM is not the same as EMS/EMT in name nor practice. An ALS cert won't magically make you a better EM doc, nor should it be a "stepping stone" as you appear to treat it as.

For two, EM residents don't work 24h shifts (not yet, anyway). I've seen pregnant EM attendings but not residents, but I don't think it's unheard of to have children as a resident.

For three, I've not actually seen a pregnant EMT in all my hundreds of hours working in an ED in one of the busiest cities in the world.
 

Tenk

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You don't want to be a pregnant EMT. Your patients can hit you. You have to do an incredible amount of lifting. It is tiring. Bad idea.

Now that I think about it, I also have actually never seen a pregnant EMT out on squads. I dunno if they just sit at the station or what...
 

CyrilFiggis

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You can have a kid whenever. If you stick to your timeline, you'll be 31-32 when you've finished residency. Still plenty of time for kids.

The only issue with being pregnant as a resident is if you're pregnant during residency interviews because some stodgy old residency director may judge you for it.

Also, just to echo @Lost in Translation EM attendings don't work more than 12-hour shifts, typically only 9. And you shouldn't apply to med school if you can't see yourself doing another specialty. I thought for years I wanted to do EM, but then got into school and found other specialties more fun.
 
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aldol16

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You could probably get by the first few months of pregnancy being an EMT - if you need to do any lifts, you can always get someone else to cover for you if you have more than a two-person crew. Just avoid being on those two-person crews because then if you can't do something, there's no alternative. Once you get more pregnant, so to speak, it becomes more of a balance because then you have to consider the risk of you getting hurt. If you get hurt during a call, the crew now has two patients with one fewer crew member to handle the situation. Then, you could be putting both yourself and the patient in harm's way by going on the call.
 
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raiderette

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After a year of med school, I would honestly have one before I started med school or plan for the summer between MS1 and MS2. I wouldn't do it during clinicals, and I can't imagine an infant during residency.
 
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njtrimed

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After a year of med school, I would honestly have one before I started med school or plan for the summer between MS1 and MS2. I wouldn't do it during clinicals, and I can't imagine an infant during residency.
I'm a current med student who is pregnant, and I know several other med students who are matriculating soon, entering M2 or M4 pregnant, or recently graduated after giving birth. I don't know anyone who's been pregnant during M3. But it's doable and arguably easier than it is during residency in some regards, though harder in others. A physician I work with had her first during M4 and said that for her, it was much easier than when she had her second during residency.
 
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salty-bacon
Jul 17, 2017
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Thanks for the info guys! I am obviously unsure what my specialty will because pre-meds don't really know what to expect and all I know right now is EMT stuff.... which I sure as hell don't want to be pregnant for because of the problems that come with it.
I mostly had a fit of anxiety when I originally posted because I don't know anything and assumed EM residents (or any resident for that matter) work crazy hours... which I interpetted to be similar in length to some of my EMT hours.
That and being an EMT and pregnant I would be too young and either straight out of my under-grad and unmarried... or in the middle of my undergrad... both of which I don't think are wise for me personally.
 

Tenk

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You can have a kid whenever. If you stick to your timeline, you'll be 31-32 when you've finished residency. Still plenty of time for kids.

The only issue with being pregnant as a resident is if you're pregnant during residency interviews because some stodgy old residency director may judge you for it.

Also, just to echo @Lost in Translation EM attendings don't work more than 12-hour shifts, typically only 9. And you shouldn't apply to med school if you can't see yourself doing another specialty. I thought for years I wanted to do EM, but then got into school and found other specialties more fun.
There are a lot of ED attendings who work 24-36 hour shifts with 36 being far less common but I've still seen it. I've worked my fair share of 24s and they are either absolutely miserable (no sleep at all) or pretty nice (sleep!). Nothing in between.
 
Aug 3, 2017
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I work full time EMS and I am currently 30 weeks pregnant. No, it's not easy. Between the 36-72 hours of EMS every week and all of the time I put in on tower jobs trying to get my Tower Climbing Company off the ground, I don't have a spare second a lot of times. Not to mention the hyperemesis gravidarum I am still sick every day and I have to go in and get IV fluids multiple times a week oh, and IM zofran is the only thing that keeps me functioning. Before any of the naturopaths start on me about that, I tried everything else possible before this.

Anyhow, being pregnant while working EMS is completely doable. I don't have any set lifting restrictions, however I am careful not to overdo it when at all possible. I am not afraid to call out the FD or PD if we need a hand. A lot of times PD is on scene with us anyhow. Working in the small rural community that we do we always have each other's backs so a lot of times, even if it is something I would have no problem doing, they're taking over before I can even get there. I don't plan on stopping working until I have the baby and my OB is perfectly ok with that. As is my husband who also works EMS. I think my husband is the one who worries the most about it honestly. I am the fourth in three years in our company to be pregnant while working ( we cover half of two states and a very large area), and not one of them has stopped working until absolutely necessary. If you decide you are ready to start a family go for it. Honestly, the hardest part is finding a uniform that fits!
 
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PreMedMissteps

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My boyfriend really, really wants kids. I have absolutely no idea when is the best time for this to happen because I just cannot imagine being pregnant and working 24 hour shifts in the ED. I am also having a hard time imagining being in either med school or residency while pregnant too.

I saw several MS4s at a recent match day who were holding newborns. It appeared that they purposely timed the births for Feb/March of their 4th year because that time period is lower-demand and would give them about 3 months before starting residencies.

As for any pressure from your boyfriend... I would test that. Seriously. I'm guessing that he's suggesting that he'll be fine doing the majority of the baby/childcare since you'd be busy with med school/residency.

I'm not a student. I have children older than you. I've seen too many people who "really want" kids be completely gobsmacked by the time demands, and (oh yes, I'll be a sexist here), some males can be particularly shocked and soon find many reasons why they can't fairly share the care. (Go ahead and flame me.) Have you seen your BF take care of babies for more than a few minutes? If so, how about when they're hungry, fussy, whiney, and with a stinky diaper? Will he be ok with middle-of-the-night feedings/diapering? If you have friends/family with little ones, can you babysit and see how BF handles all of it (letting him do most of the challenging care)? When you have your own, will you be breast-feeding? Pumping? Will you have other relatives who'll be support systems? That can be a challenge if your med school or residency is not near extended family.
 

PTPoeny

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My advice is to find the right time for you and your partner and figure out how to work everything else out. I a female and was pregnant twice during residency and hope to be pregnant again during fellowship. I am not in EM but I have good friends that are and had pregnancies that worked well for them during residency as well. My impression from the outside is that the support of your program and partner determine how easy or hard it is to be pregnant or have a young infant in residency. I also had good friends who had children during medical school. In contrast to the above poster third year was the most popular time for my classmates to be pregnant and then they all had their babies during fourth year before interviews started with a few that got pregnant at the end of third year so they weren't showing yet for interviews. My school has a number of rotations outside of our home hospital but was flexible and supportive of students who were starting families. I had one friend who had some concerns during pregnancy was able to switch to a rotation at our home hospital to make getting to her twice a week appointments easier and allow her to miss less of her rotation. Depending on your school and your baby first and second year can be good times to have a baby as well; mostly depending on how much of your curriculum is videotaped versus how often you have to physically be in class. But the sleep deprivation is really hard to learn through if your baby doesn't want to sleep so it is a little bit risky.

EDIT: After re-reading my post I wanted to clarify a few things. Find a general time that works for you guys and then within that optimize. There are definitely times during medical school and training that will be extremely challengng - end of second year, all of third year, at least the first half of intern year. I was just trying to encourage you not to think of it as now or not till you are an attending.

And I agree with the above poster about making sure your bf has a good understanding that he will be doing at least equal if not more of the baby care and realizes what that will entail. EM and ICU shifts can be hard to pump but there are plenty of women who successful breastfeed throughout medical school rotations and residency.
 
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PreMedMissteps

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In contrast to the above poster third year was the most popular time for my classmates to be pregnant and then they all had their babies during fourth year before interviews started

Yes, there also were MS4's at Match with babies that were approaching their first birthdays, so likely they were born during the summer before residency interviews.

Timing and a supportive partner can be very important, hence the suggestion that you test how truly supportive the future daddy will be. Better to find out now.
 

CyrilFiggis

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There are a lot of ED attendings who work 24-36 hour shifts with 36 being far less common but I've still seen it. I've worked my fair share of 24s and they are either absolutely miserable (no sleep at all) or pretty nice (sleep!). Nothing in between.
It honestly depends on the practice, location, etc. But is far and away the exception. Most Level 1 and academic centers have shorter shifts with maybe 1-2 days per month of 24 hour on-call. But I also know community hospital EM groups that are 16-22 beds and only have 8-hour shifts. It's become one of the biggest recruiting tactics of the EM community. I heard it relentlessly at ACEP last year.
 
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