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Childbearing and Pregnancy Characteristics of Female Orthopaedic Surgeons
Abigail R. Hamilton, MD1; Mark D. Tyson, MD2; Julie A. Braga, MD3; Lori B. Lerner, MD4
1 Park Nicollet Orthopedics, 15800 95th Avenue North, Maple Grove, MN 55369
2 Department of Urology, Mayo Clinic, 5777 East Mayo Boulevard, Phoenix, AZ 85054. E-mail address: tyson.mark@mayo.edu
3 Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, 1 Medical Center Drive, Lebanon, NH 03756
4 Section of Urology, VA Boston Healthcare System, 1400 VFW Parkway, West Roxbury, MA 02132. E-mail address: Lori.Lerner@va.gov
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Disclosure: None of the authors received payments or services, either directly or indirectly (i.e., via his or her institution), from a third party in support of any aspect of this work. None of the authors, or their institution(s), have had any financial relationship, in the thirty-six months prior to submission of this work, with any entity in the biomedical arena that could be perceived to influence or have the potential to influence what is written in this work. Also, no author has had any other relationships, or has engaged in any other activities, that could be perceived to influence or have the potential to influence what is written in this work. The complete Disclosures of Potential Conflicts of Interest submitted by authors are always provided with the online version of the article.

Copyright © 2012 by The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Inc.
J Bone Joint Surg Am, 2012 Jun 06;94(11):e77 1-9. doi: 10.2106/JBJS.K.00707
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The number of women entering orthopaedic surgery is steadily increasing. Information regarding pregnancy and childbearing is important to understand as it increasingly affects residency programs, clinical practices, and the female surgeons and their offspring.


One thousand and twenty-one female surgeons completed an anonymous, voluntary, 199-item online survey distributed via individual female surgeon interest groups and word of mouth in nine specialties: general surgery, gynecology, neurosurgery, ophthalmology, orthopaedics, otolaryngology, plastic surgery, podiatry, and urology. Two hundred and twenty-three survey responses from orthopaedic surgeons were compared with those of the other surgical specialists as well as American Pregnancy Association national data to assess differences, if any, in pregnancy characteristics, demographics, and satisfaction.


The overall reported complication rate for all pregnancies among orthopaedic surgeons was significantly higher than the rate in the general American population (31.2% [eighty-two of 263] compared with 14.5%). There was an increased risk of preterm delivery among orthopaedic surgeons compared with a cohort of the general U.S. population matched according to age, race, health, and socioeconomic status (risk ratio, 2.5; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.3 to 4.6). There was an increased risk of preterm labor and preterm delivery among women who reported working more than sixty hours per week (odds ratio, 4.95; 95% CI, 1.4 to 36.6). Female orthopaedic surgeons took shorter maternity leave during training than during clinical practice (median, four compared with seven weeks). The mean duration of breastfeeding was significantly shorter during training than during clinical practice (4.7 compared with 8.3 months, p = 0.03).


Female orthopaedic surgeons had an increased risk of pregnancy complications, particularly preterm delivery, compared with the general U.S. population. We found an increased risk of increased risk of preterm labor and delivery in surgeons working more than sixty hours per week during pregnancy.

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