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Reasonable Work Accommodations During Pregnancy

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  • Avatar Dilaudidopenia 
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    Status: Physician
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    Joined: 05/22/2016

    My wife is a PICU fellow and is 35 weeks pregnant.

    This week she worked 6a-7p M-F, and then a 28 hour call shift Saturday.  She has a “day off” today before switching to the same M-F schedule tomorrow.

    I’ve discussed this with her OB, who agrees this is ridiculous and inhumane, and offered to write a letter requesting reasonable accommodations, however, my wife would never do this, likely out of fear of stigmatization and academic retribution.

    I don’t think she should have to work less hours than her colleagues, but I think they can easily be redistributed to research months, etc.

    Oh, she gets 4 weeks maternity leave.  She can (and will) use two weeks of her her four weeks of vacation to extend this to 6.

    We should treat people better, especially at at childrens’ hospital.

     

    /endrant

     

    #214067 Reply
    Avatar snowcanyon 
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    Status: Physician
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    Funny how nurses and techs always seem to be allowed a month off before delivery.

    So, I think there are a couple of ways to go here. First, Peds can be a very vindictive field, so I understand your wife’s fears. But what will she regret later? A lukewarm letter or a pregnancy complication? She needs to take a stand. She’s an adult, and she’s already certified in Peds; healthy wife and healthy baby are more important than academic reputation.

    First, she can take twelve weeks off like every other W2 employee. I don’t know who told you six; she’s legally entitled to twelve, although she may have to take six weeks unpaid and make up time at the end of her program. If she was only planning on taking six weeks off, then maybe her OB can put her on bedrest and consider inducing her at 39 weeks (recommended now, I hear) if possible. Then she still has six weeks off. It’s hard to argue against bedrest, so this actually might have less chance of repercussions than asking for a reduced schedule.

    She could have her OB ask for a reduced schedule, and they will have to grant it, but the question in the program’s mind (and I do see their point) will be why didn’t she ask to switch her months around when she found out she was pregnant? Did she have the call schedule then? Not to blame the victim, but didn’t she see this coming? Was she turned down when she asked earlier? Why is this coming up now?

    I agree we should be more humane and not leave this to the fellow to figure out, but she shouldn’t have left this to the last minute, unless she just found out about the calls, which seems unlikely. I think bedrest is her least politically toxic option, and next time she needs to hash this out with her OB and job/program ahead of time. I can’t imagine she’s the first pregnant fellow in her program.

    #214068 Reply
    fatlittlepig fatlittlepig 
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    Sounds like an unreasonable schedule pregnant or not pregnant, but if she’s unwilling to speak up then whatever anyone writes here is a moot point.

    #214075 Reply
    CordMcNally CordMcNally 
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    however, my wife would never do this, likely out of fear of stigmatization and academic retribution.

    Click to expand…

    Sounds like it isn’t an issue she wants to bring up. I would also tread very carefully if you’re thinking about getting involved. Very carefully.

    “But investing isn’t about beating others at their game. It’s about controlling yourself at your own game.”
    ― Benjamin Graham, The Intelligent Investor

    #214083 Reply
    Avatar Dilaudidopenia 
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    however, my wife would never do this, likely out of fear of stigmatization and academic retribution. 

    Click to expand…

    Sounds like it isn’t an issue she wants to bring up. I would also tread very carefully if you’re thinking about getting involved. Very carefully.

    Click to expand…

    Yeah.  I’m not.  It just sucks to watch.

    #214091 Reply
    Liked by CordMcNally
    Avatar snowcanyon 
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    Joined: 10/22/2018

    Agreed on not getting involved.

    Part of the world of work is negotiating for a reasonable work-life balance, however one defines it. Obviously we are not taught this- we are just resources to be used by society, but at some point we all need to figure it out, whether it’s surgery, sick in-laws, or pregnancy.

    I worry she will put herself in a worse situation, not so much medically, but with her fellowship. This is not a situation where begging for forgiveness is preferable to planning, asking, and negotiating.

    Best of luck.

    #214093 Reply
    Liked by Tim
    Avatar ZZZ 
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    Did she explore trading easier rotations with colleagues (you mentioned research months)?

    #214100 Reply
    Zaphod Zaphod 
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    Status: Physician, Small Business Owner
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    Joined: 01/12/2016

    No way, absolutely bring it up. Nurses and doctors are well known to have issues around pregnancy for just this reason. She’s a fellow not a resident. My wife (an RN) had oligohydraminos due to overworking and dehydration. This is not something she’ll wish she didnt do in the long run. Just talk to her first ofc, Im sure she is concerned about work/stigma, but I guarantee she’s more concerned about the baby. Its ridiculous, theres a way to take care of call distribution outside this kind of thing. Makes no sense.

    #214106 Reply
    fatlittlepig fatlittlepig 
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    Maybe i’m naive, but i would think a fellowship program would accommodate a pregnant fellow and not make her work this ridiculous schedule.

    #214110 Reply
    Avatar treesrock 
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    Status: Physician
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    Maybe i’m naive, but i would think a fellowship program would accommodate a pregnant fellow and not make her work this ridiculous schedule.

    Click to expand…

    You are naive.  PICU is a tough fellowship and these are the work hours I hear about all the time.  PICU fellows at my hospital are treated horribly and I am not sure why anyone would want to train here. But some programs also have dedicated research time and time away from the ICU, but I’ve heard of some that do not.  I agree this sucks and any reasonable training program (including my own) would keep our pregnant fellows, particularly in the third trimester, on outpatient or research rotations.

    I would vote that you speak to her to stand up for herself.  But if she won’t do it for herself certainly do not go behind her back if she is not willing.

    #214141 Reply
    Liked by Craigy
    Avatar Panscan 
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    if its a brutal fellowship then why get pregnant during fellowship? going to have like multiple levels more magnitude control over schedule as an attending.

    I’m with you about changing rotations around and etc but some of this is a self-made problem

    #214142 Reply
    fatlittlepig fatlittlepig 
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    Status: Physician
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    Maybe i’m naive, but i would think a fellowship program would accommodate a pregnant fellow and not make her work this ridiculous schedule.

    Click to expand…

    You are naive.  PICU is a tough fellowship and these are the work hours I hear about all the time.  PICU fellows at my hospital are treated horribly and I am not sure why anyone would want to train here. But some programs also have dedicated research time and time away from the ICU, but I’ve heard of some that do not.  I agree this sucks and any reasonable training program (including my own) would keep our pregnant fellows, particularly in the third trimester, on outpatient or research rotations.

    I would vote that you speak to her to stand up for herself.  But if she won’t do it for herself certainly do not go behind her back if she is not willing.

    Click to expand…

    you state: “any reasonable training program (including my own) would keep our pregnant fellows, particularly in the third trimester, on outpatient or research rotations.” so my statement was reasonable and not naive after all..

    #214143 Reply
    Liked by MPMD
    wonka31 wonka31 
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    if its a brutal fellowship then why get pregnant during fellowship? going to have like multiple levels more magnitude control over schedule as an attending.

    I’m with you about changing rotations around and etc but some of this is a self-made problem

    Click to expand…

    This is exactly the kind of bs train until you drop mindset that makes a pregnant person working 6a-7p M-F, and then a 28 hour call shift Saturday.  She has a “day off” today before switching to the same M-F schedule tomorrow afraid to raise concerns with a schedule like this. Yes, she should definitely apologize for *gasp* getting pregnant in her 30s during training.

    A post like this is a dumpster fire that fell on top of another dumpster fire.

    Avatar Panscan 
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    Joined: 03/18/2017

    Really? I didn’t say anyone should apologize.

    They could have front loaded their calls to avoid near term. They could have broached the subject before being so near to term. There’s lots of potential solutions or ways to make it more bearable.

    #214158 Reply
    Avatar Anne 
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    Status: Physician
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    Joined: 11/07/2017

    Panscan, several of my female colleagues (who had babies both in residency or fellowship and then as attendings) have made the point that pregnancy and maternity leave can actually be easier in residency/fellowship than during attendinghood. Being an attending in many circumstances does not give one huge control or autonomy over their schedule, especially as a junior attending. I agree with asking to switch schedules around early on to try to arrange an easier schedule for the third trimester, but I have also seen many of my colleagues feel afraid to rock the boat and just not advocate for themselves. Or they want to push for as much maternity leave a they can get and don’t feel like they can ask for that and a humane schedule during the last weeks of pregnancy.

    #214161 Reply

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