UAB study reveals women doctors more likely to delay childbearing

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) – A study by UAB shows that female medical residents are more likely to delay starting a family than their male counterparts. The survey shows that the biggest reason was a fear of jeopardizing their career.

UAB surveyed 424 different doctors to assess gender differences among the residents regarding their plans and determine their most influential reasons.

"We found that women residents, significantly more than their male counterparts, plan to delay childbearing until their residency is complete," said the study's lead author Lisa Willett, M.D., associate professor of medicine and associate director of the internal medicine residency program in the UAB Division of General Internal Medicine. "And we were able to find that their reasons for postponement were related to what they perceived as threats to their career."

In the study, 41% of men and 27% percent of women planned to have children during residency. Many women said they felt that having children would extend their training, could cost them fellowships for further training, would place them in danger of having pregnancy complications and might overall jeopardize some career goals.