I'm a second year urology resident and just had my baby girl about 2 weeks ago. The ACGME allows us to have 6 weeks off during the year that do not need to be made up. I saved up all my vacation time this year and was planning on taking 6 weeks for maternity leave. However, I'm having some second thoughts about whether or not I'll be ready to go back to work then. I am eligible for 6 more (unpaid) weeks of time off through FMLA, but this would require extending my training/making up this time somehow. I was wondering if anyone could share their experience with extending training due to maternity leave. Is it worth it? Did it affect your career in any way? I'm thinking I don't want to do a fellowship but would hate to limit my options so early into my 5 year program.
I did extend my training for mat leave and it was absolutely worth it. The difference between six weeks and three months is huge. I ended up doing a research fellowship at my same institution and it didn't affect my timeline at all. Basically I was formally still a resident for the first few months of my fellowship, but this didn't change anything about my research and just meant I still needed formal supervision for my clinical work until I had made up the time. Nobody looking at my CV would notice a gap.
It is more problematic for people who do an ACGME fellowship that isn't flexible on start times; in that case it could cost you a whole year. I'd still think it was worth it but in that case you might want to see if you could take even more unpaid time off, assuming you can afford it, since you'll be sacrificing the year anyway.
I'm due in a few weeks and have decided to take an extra two weeks on top of my 4 weeks vacation and 2 weeks for a research elective from home (total 8 weeks). I will be making up the 2 weeks at the end of the year.
I made the decision because I want to get out of residency and start my career already. Particularly, to stop living in small apartments in bad neighborhoods as I have done for the last 10 years as a student and resident.
I am in my final year of residency, however, and I'm not sure I can bear another 2 months or so as a resident when I could be making an attending's salary.
Your situation is somewhat different, though. (I should also mention that I am in my late 30's, which also plays a big part in my decisions) If you have the time, if you are young, take the time you need and be glad for it. Intern year is rough, and you won't be spending much time at home for the next few years.
Take it while you can get it and enjoy every moment. Just my two cents.