The world of medicine is like a bubble. A lot of people THINK they know what goes on there, but unless you're down in the trenches it's unlikely you do. So here is my semi-anonymous blog, here to tell you what really goes on in the life of a medical resident.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

On Being a Pregnant Medical Resident...

The Good:
  • Limited maternity wardrobe required-- I went from yellow-string scrub pants to blue-string scrub pants around week 14 so that I could wear them over my expanding belly and not have to hike them up all day. Saves me a ton of money.
  • My emergency medicine program has been amazingly accommodating regarding my pregnancy and impending maternity leave. I've basically re-written my schedule for the next year so that the rotations that have to be done out-of-town will be done by the time The Bean makes an appearance.
  • It looks like I can take 5 months of leave and still manage to write my emergency medicine certification exams on schedule. That's 2 months more than I expected to be able to take.
  • PAIRO (have I mentioned that I love my union?) tops up my mat leave to 75% of my take-home salary. Not too shabby.
  • As a doctor, I seem to be subject to very little of the unsolicited advice that is often heaped on pregnant women. I guess people assume that my medical training makes me better prepared for managing pregnancy. With the exception of my mother-in-law, who believes, for example, that my intention to cloth diaper is something that should be met with eye-rolling and smirking.
The Bad:
  • I'm torn between wanting to tell everyone I work with that I'm pregnant (since I'm definitely looking wider around the middle) and not wanting them to think that I expect special treatment.
  • Due to some first trimester spotting, I had to stop running. I've been walking instead, but it's really not the same as far as stress reduction goes.
  • I need to pee about 10 times a day. This is actually pretty disruptive to a busy workday.
  • Eating is a challenge. I'm done with the nausea of the first trimester, but very few foods are appealing to me. And it's not like I can leave the ICU with the code pager to get myself some fresh watermelon and a McDonald's cheeseburger when the mood hits.
  • I miss sushi. A lot. And wine. And my beloved aspartame (I long for a Diet Coke!). I am aware that not everyone believes that forgoing sushi and aspartame is necessary during pregnancy, but it's what I've chosen. That doesn't mean I can't complain.
  • 10 hour days with 1-in-4 call is exhausting to the most hardy of individuals. Being pregnant doesn't help. Thank God I had easy rotations during the dreaded first trimester.
  • My blood pressure has been problematically low. My systolic is hovering around 80. In the stuffy confines of the ICU, rounding (standing in front of a patient's bed for long periods of time) gives me pre-syncope. I think I'm going to have to tell my attending I'm pregnant, or he's going to think I'm just a lazy shit who drags a chair around the ICU with me.
The Ugly:
  • Uncontrollable pregnancy gas. Nuf said.


Blogger MedStudentGod (MSG) said...

What? You can't complain about something you've chosen? When did that rule come around - because I get told to stop complaining 20 times a day since I've chosen this career path.

I hope your BP levels out a bit more and good luck with the ICU. Stay healthy, Dr. Couz.

7:20 PM

Blogger med neophyte said...

Thanks so much for your pregnancy-in-medicine posting. I am not pregnant but have thought about maybe considering trying at some point in the future. Any information about what I might be in for is great.

8:15 PM

Blogger Awesome Mom said...

I get a lot of smirking from my own mother about cloth diapering. If you need tips feel free to email me, there are so many choices out there it can get overwhelming.

9:21 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Two words: pressure stockings. Seriously. Just go get the $20 calf-high ones from the drugstore and you will feel soooo much better rounding. (as long as your ICU is air-conditioned?) :)

11:32 PM

Anonymous MLO said...

Anonymous is right about the support hose. I put myself through graduate school working in a retail maternity department. The support hose was the one thing that always flew off the shelves. Same with the support panties that are available. Every customer swore by them.



1:31 PM

Blogger Midwife with a Knife said...

There's also this thing you need to know about (probably more of an issue later in pregnancy) called a maternity support belt. My friends who were pregnant in residency swear that it's key to decreasing the discomfort associated with hauling a big pregnant belly around the hospital for 14-24 hours at a time.

4:08 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry to say, the missing wine thing doesn't get any easier!


6:04 PM

Anonymous Stormy said...

I can relate - I missed Diet Coke and wine a lot! I also had to quit running the first trimester because of spotting. In retrospect I wish I'd tried running 10 minute miles (something slower than my average) but it wasn't too hard to get back in the swing of things afterwards.

Once I told people at work I was pregnant it was impossible to get them to treat me normally.

Have fun and good luck!

9:41 PM

Blogger Symbiosis said...

Man u r brave gal...good luck..I cant manage residency being single...hats off to courageous women like you...

10:20 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, I definitely agree with the maternity belt. They are amazing, esp when you're on your feet overnight. (I'm the same anonymous as the pressure stockings one. As you can imagine I look very attractive under my maternity outfits).

Also,you didn't mention the union rule that gets you out of overnight call after 32 weeks I think? :) If you're in the province I think you are in. Very sensible.

11:37 PM

Blogger Couz said...

Shut UP! I don't have to do overnight call after 32 weeks?

Maybe I'll fit in my last two months of ICU before the baby comes after all... ;-)

1:42 PM

Blogger The MSILF said...

Damn. I drop bp on rounds without being pregnant. My best tips are the support socks and also coffee, but don't know if you went off that...


3:46 PM

Blogger Lexy said...

I missed Sushi too. I also missed Coke once I gave birth (the kid didn't do well with caffeine).

I caved and had sushi the night before I went into labour :)

3:27 PM

Blogger Kim said...

I have to get around the blogs more often! Congratulations on your pregnancy!!!!!!!

Girlfriend, you complain all you want!!! It's our perogative, especially when we are pregnant!

This is so great! : )

When did cloth diapering become something to smirk at? It is certainly environmentally friendly!

10:49 PM

Blogger Doc's Girl said...

Not having people give you advice every three minutes sounds good...the gas and lack of sushi has to be tough. :-P

Congrats on your pregnancy as I am new to your blog. :)

1:02 PM

Blogger Nikki said...

Wow, I can't believe you're done with first trimester already! Time flies. :)

Will you be my advice guru when I am (hopefully) pregnant in residency? ;o)

Woohoo for clothing diapering! You rock!! (Silly MIL.)

8:25 AM

Blogger Amanzi Down Under said...

Hmmm....Pregnancy and ER work are compatible after all??? I've got to start nagging the hubby for a baby again. He's been giving me the spiel about needing to be more settled with our shifts before we can consider procreating...Of course if we were actually home at the same time it would make procreating a lot easier!

9:49 AM

Blogger Lisa said...

Congratulations on your pregnancy!

I used cloth diapers for both of my girls and I can tell you that my very favorite bloth diapers for newborns are Kissaluvs. So very soft and adorable too!

3:39 PM

Blogger keolanimd said...

As a psychiatry resident I'm not on my feet QUITE as much but I feel your pain, discomfort and gas...I'm working on pregnancy # 2 during residency. Had Baby 1 in my second year...

You can DO this! Make sure you've got good childcare with flexible hours and just acknowledge your baseline level of fatigue will generally be far greater than you could previously imagine. And, sometimes, work just has to give. Kiddo/family comes first. Good luck!

7:39 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for some laughs! I'm a second year emergency medicine resident and I just found out I'm pregnant. Keep writing...

3:22 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for all the postings; I recently found out that I am pregnant and can totally relate to your concerns. I am in internal medicine residency, and can't imagine what it will be like doing 2 call months in a row 6-7 months pregnant. I too miss my easy, carefree runs which were definitely essential to my sanity, as well as the sushi, wine and most importantly the diet drinks. I don't know what to drink anymore, water just doesn't appeal to me.

4:02 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the blog! Needed someone to talk to. Im a 3rd year EM resident in four year program. Just found out im 7 weeks pregnant. Boyfriend is 5th year surgical resident with no idea what he's doing next year and not ready for a baby at all. I guess there's a reason they say birth control is only 99% effective. As if this wasn't stressful enough, don't want to tell anyone in my program until I'm ready too. Will my PD be upset when I say "oh by the way I'm 6 months pregnant and I'm going to need those 6 weeks maternity leave at the beginning of 4th year?" and well I guess that chief position we all work so hard towards is out of the question. Trying to stay positive but it's looking like a very tough road ahead. I guess right now I wish my family wasn't 1000 miles away. thanks for your words of encouragement comforting to know that many of you are doing it successfully. congratulations!

11:07 PM

Blogger Blake Billy said...

First of all thanks for share your personal experience. Meditation and Ayurvedic pregnancy medicine are the best always without side effect. Its Good to Know now a days women are feel secure after getting so much support from Govt. and Family.Even in organizations are gave them Seek leave for long days during Pregnant period.

6:25 AM

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10:26 AM

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5:06 AM

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3:25 AM

Blogger Flip Jork said...

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10:23 AM

Blogger Flip Jork said...

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10:26 AM


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