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The old debated topic - MS3 vs MS4 for pregnancy

5 years 1 month ago #95471 by AlmostMSIV
Good morning!

I hate to belabor a much-discussed topic - but I am hoping there are some new students out there who can help me. I am 32, MSII, and we are trying to figure out which year will be the least troublesome for baby number 1. I'm strongly interested in OB/GYN, and am trying to figure out the best combo for when a pregnancy works in my next 3 years of life. Here are my questions:

Getting pregnant a few months into MS3 would let me do my surgical rotations and such that have grueling hrs without battling naseau and 1st trimester symptoms. However, this makes me term in June, which would back right into Step 2. Has anyone done this? Did you postpone your Step2 until late summer/early fall?

Getting pregnant later into MS3 pushes the delivery into MS4 and during time for Sub-Is. I'm not planning on doing any crazy number of audition rotations, but it could be nice to do 1 or maybe 2 at a program I am strongly interested in to get a feel for how it might work for our family. Has anyone figured out a timeline that allows for a delivery and a sub-I? I don't see this really working without taking time off.

Third option - getting pregnant MS3, but spreading MS4 out over 2 years to do a little research, case presentation, and care for baby and my sanity. I have no idea what Baby number 1 will hold for us (or pregnancy number 1, for that matter), but I know life loves to throw a curve ball.

Has anyone extended to 5 years? Is it better to extend to 5 or take a LOA?

Back story: I have a non-physician spouse (PhD) who is reasonably-high earning, so we are not just living off loans right now. He works from home a few days a week and is in the office other days. No family support where we are currently located in the States.

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5 years 1 month ago #95474 by justperusing
Hi L,

I can tell you about my experience, but ultimately I'm sure you'll do what feels right to you. :) I did the first option you mentioned, delivering early 4th year. I did not postpone Step 2; I took it VERY pregnant. It worked out just fine! The biggest worry I had was that I would deliver during the test or something, but that didn't happen, and all turned out well. I decided not to postpone for many reasons. First, I wanted to get that test out of the way so that once baby came I could just enjoy baby. Second, I did not want to be studying with a newborn...that sleep deprivation is no joke the first couple of months. Third, if you plan to breastfeed, I imagine it would really eat up your break time to pump (which you'll probably want to do because the test is over a span of 9 hours).

If you delivered around September (or whatever month 3 of 4th year is at your school), you'd have time to do an easy month where you could study for step 2 and do your sub-i before baby came.

Option #2 might not work as well if for whatever reason you don't get pregnant right away. However, a lot of people seem to like this option. It would allow for completion of sub-i, but given you are a decent student, you shouldn't need to do aways for OB/GYN unless you just want to. You'd have to do your audition rotations pregnant, which might be kind of tiring. Also, baby will be younger when you start residency, so you'll have to decide how you feel about that.

You can always pick option #3 after the fact, right? Just see how you feel.

They all sound like good scenarios, and you can make any work successfully, I think. Good luck to you!

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5 years 1 month ago #95475 by AlmostMSIV
Thanks @justperusing! I am leaning towards the option you proposed - I think if I could take Step2 before baby came that would be idea. If babe was born in late Aug/earlySeptember and I did an audition in October, that gives me plenty of time to get a sub-i in without backing completely into sleep deprivation land immediately post-baby. If that makes sense...haha.

I am grateful for forums like this. I go to a school with a lot of guys who have expecting wives, but not any girls who are both students and trying to procreate. Now I just have to spend next year figuring out what specialties I might be interested in matching to! I haven't met many young OB/GYNs, but I would love to do so. I know the hours and entire practice models have changed a lot from what the previous private practice/call all the time days of previous decades. I know most of medicine is changing in terms of hours and structure, and I like the option of eventually moving to a laborist position, or the like, and doing more shift work when kids are older... You lose the practice, but you gain autonomy.

Decisions decisions!

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5 years 1 month ago #95481 by ctenj
Have you considered delivering post-sub Is (ie/delivering early in 2016 for example)? Seems like that would avoid a lot of the problems you've described.

Although you may be different than I am, I think I'd be cautious about trying to do an audition rotation 4-5 weeks after delivering. At that point, I was still very sleep-deprived and quite honestly a bit of a mess organizationally. I know I definitely was not at my best at that point post-baby, but everyone's different :)

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5 years 1 month ago #95483 by AlmostMSIV
I am so grateful for your input! I agree that doing an audition with a sleep deprived brain is not ideal, so I am still mulling that over! We would get a nanny and I think my mom would come out to help, but still.

The main reason I don't want to push off delivering is because I have heard many stories about how life with an infant changes your priorities. I'd love to see what my new priorities are before putting together a rank list. Would hate to interview at programs and then have a baby and realize it wasn't what I wanted....if that makes sense.

I suppose there is also the option to take a research year if I needed, but that isn't ideal. :)

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5 years 1 month ago #95485 by Melbelle
I had a baby in May, almost at the end of third year. I agree with trying to schedule to take step 2 while pregnant. I was tired (mostly tired of being pregnant) in May, but I was not even able to stay awake long enough to study in June, and had to push back my July exam. Then I had a sub-I and make up for the course I would have been in when the baby came, and it became a scheduling nightmare. Long story short, do the step before baby if possible! :) As far as what to do after baby, I came back to a clinical rotation at 6 weeks. It was hard - I was pretty tired, and had to pump enough at that time that it was a bit of a hassle, but definitely doable.

I will say that I did OB while 9ish months pregnant, and they were by far the most sympathetic of all specialties. :)

As far as option number 3, that sounds nice, but only if you want to extend. I did a research year with my first. It was very flexible, and worked out well. I still don't know if it would have been better to push through and just get done sooner, but I was already interested in research, so it made sense.

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