Fertility, Pregnancy, and Postpartum: A Survey of Practicing Georgia Obstetrician Gynecologists

Abstract

Purpose

OBGYNs help patients plan families, conceive, and deliver children, however the personal reproductive history and goals, infertility experiences, and birth outcomes of OBGYNs are not well studied. We aim to characterize female OBGYN reproductive experiences with a particular focus on infertility, reproductive life planning (methods of pregnancy prevention, reasons why pregnancy is/was delayed), birth outcomes (mode of delivery, delivery timing), and the postpartum period (breastfeeding, maternity leave, postpartum depression).

Description

An anonymous email survey was distributed to female members of Georgia OBGYN Society and Emory University Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics. Descriptive statistics and bivariable analysis were performed using Microsoft Excel and OpenEpi.

Assessment

Of 352 surveys, 204 of 269 women who opened the survey agreed to participate (75.8% per opened email, 58.0% per sent email). Mean age of first childbirth was 30.7 (SD ± 4.2) years. Most pregnancies were intended (77%). Fertility treatments were used in 13% of pregnancies. Resident mothers compared to mothers who gave birth before or after residency were more likely to report postpartum depression [26% vs. 16%, OR 1.8 (95% CI 0.93–3.58)] and shorter maternity leave < 6 weeks [57% vs. 29%, OR 2.57 (CI 1.56–5.00)]; exclusive breastfeeding rates ≥ 6 months were similar [38% residents vs. 41% non-residents, OR 0.80 (CI 0.44–1.43)]. Among those not finished with childbearing, 68% worried about infertility, 29% were considering oocyte/embryo cryopreservation, and 5% had already cryopreserved oocytes.

Conclusion

Compared to the general population, the average age of first childbirth among Georgia OBGYNs was 4 years higher (30.7) with a greater proportion of pregnancies planned. Use of fertility services and obstetric course matched national rates, however postpartum depression was more prevalent among Georgia OBGYNs. Awareness of increased postpartum depression among residents may allow for improved counseling and treatment.

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Acknowledgements

Emory School of Medicine Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics supported this study with an award contribution of $500, which was used to purchase the Survey Monkey subscription. No other financial support was provided. A poster presenting this data was on display at the 2017 Georgia Obstetrical and Gynecological Society Annual Meeting at Amelia Island, Florida from August 24–26, 2017. The authors would like to thank Dr. Marisa Young for her help with statistical analysis. Dr. Young is a resident of Emory University’s OBGYN program and will be joining faculty at Emory University.

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Correspondence to Caitlin E. Martin.

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Martin, C.E., Hipp, H.S., Kottke, M. et al. Fertility, Pregnancy, and Postpartum: A Survey of Practicing Georgia Obstetrician Gynecologists. Matern Child Health J 23, 1299–1307 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10995-019-02801-9

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Keywords

  • Delayed childbearing
  • Obstetrician gynecologist
  • Fertility
  • Postpartum depression