Serious question to all you with kids.

How did having children affect your med school and residency and vice versa?

I have a 3 year old and one on the way. People say it can be done, however, I would like to weigh the penalty.

Give me the dirt.


It can definitely be done. I started my intern year a few weeks ago with a 3 1/2 year old and a 2 month old. A supportive family definitely makes things a lot more doable. During med school, my daughter was in daycare, but there were times where my husband was more or less a single dad because my hours were so crazy. For residency, we decided that it would be best for my husband to stay home. In my program, most of the residents with children have the other spouse staying home with the kids. As a resident, your hours are so unpredictable (other than the fact that they may be long), that in a lot of cases, it’s not worth putting your kids in daycare.

Some other concerns - having kids certainly affects how you look at residency programs. Although more and more programs are “family friendly”, there are certainly those that aren’t. I mentioned my daughter at every interview (technically, they aren’t supposed to ask about martial status, family, etc) because I figured that if a program had a problem with my having children, it wasn’t a program I wanted to be at. I looked for programs that seemed to have a decent amount of residents who were married with children. I ended up at a program that has an excellent support system for families, with lots of activities for spouses and kids. Location was also a factor, as with two kids we didn’t want to be so far away that it was going to be difficult to go see family - I want the kids to be able to see their grandparents more than once or twice a year. Benefits were important. Some programs pay 100% of insurance costs for families, some had monthly costs of over $200 a month (not bad by most standards, but still significant when you’re comparing programs with basically the same salary). Cost of living was another important consideration. We wanted to live somewhere that we could afford a house in a nice area, and also somewhere that there would be lots for my husband and kids to do.

Hope that helps. Let me know if you have more/specific questions.


Thanks for your feedback. This is a question I’ve been thinking about as well. My husband and I don’t have kids yet, and I don’t know if we will at all.

The thing is … I’ll (hopefully) be engaged in post-bac/med school/residency for the next 10-12 years or so (depending on specialty). Given that I’m almost 29, that’s pretty much the majority of my “child-bearing” years, as they are so called. Which means either having a child during med school/residency, or RIGHT afterward.

It’s a scary proposition, but as you said, you and others have done it.

Here’s my question – how was it being pregnant as an M4? Did you carefully plan this (as much as you can such things – and sorry if I’m being intrusive)? I’ve heard M4 is one of the better years to have a child, is that true?

Thanks so much!

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Here's my question -- how was it being pregnant as an M4? Did you carefully plan this (as much as you can such things -- and sorry if I'm being intrusive)? I've heard M4 is one of the better years to have a child, is that true?

For me, it wasn't bad. I was very fortunate with both pregnancies in that they were both fairly easy. I didn't have morning sickness, etc, and I felt pretty good most of the time. Two of my classmates also had babies 4th year. One had hers in March and the other had hers two weeks after me. I frontloaded my schedule so that all of my required/more difficult rotations were early in the year, and I think the other two girls did, too. One of them had pretty bad morning sickness, I think.

M4 is generally a decent year to have a baby because you have more vacation time. This is school dependent, though. My school has 3 months of vacation during 4th year, and there are a number of electives you can take that essentially give you an extra month off. (You have to work on them during the rest of the year). I did two of these electives and ended up with 5 months off. Other schools, though, only allow for ~ a month or so of vacation during 4th year. That would make it tough to take time off for a baby AND have time to interview for residency.

Some people have managed to time their babies for the summer between M1 and M2 - that's always an option if it works out. Other people simply end up graduating late and taking time off during a particular year. How easy this is depends on your school.

Generally, I think you can avoid having your loans go into repayment fairly easily. You'd have to talk to your financial aid people to be sure, but I'm sure they can be put into forbearance or some other program so that you aren't expected to start repaying them if you choose to take a year off.