Perception of pregnant medical students' ability




Toufexis, Andi
Tierny, Emma
Fulda, Kimberly


0000-0003-2349-7112 (Toufexis, Andi)

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Purpose: Medical school curriculum is very rigorous and many students face challenges in life while struggling to keep up with their studies. Pregnancy is one challenge that some students experience and there is a lack of research on the correlation of pregnancy and medical school performance. We asked about the perceived change in ability in medical school due to pregnancy and the differences in perception between those who have and have not been pregnant in medical school. Methods: A survey was e-mailed to medical students in the fall semester of 2019 with a reminder in the spring semester of 2020. Descriptive statistics are provided to look at responses for all students and those who have been pregnant in medical school. Results: Sixty-eight percent (n=102) of 150 respondents were female, and 8 (5.3%) had been pregnant while in medical school. Students that have never been pregnant in medical school are likely to rate change in academic ability as 'decreased' (n=63, 51.6%) or 'greatly decreased' (n=33, 27.0%) while students who have been pregnant experienced 'decreased' (n=4, 50.0%) or 'no change' (n=4, 50.0%) in ability. Additionally, students who have been pregnant in medical school (n=4, 50%) rate support services higher than their counterparts (n=27, 22.1%). Conclusion: This study suggests that students who have never been pregnant in medical school believe there is a greater decrease in ability than those that have experienced pregnancy while in medical school.