Statement on Scheduling Recommendations During Pregnancy, the Postpartum Period, and Parental Leave

The following statement was created by the AAEM Young Physicians (YPS-AAEM) and Women in Emergency Medicine (WiEM-AAEM) Sections. It was approved by the American Academy of Emergency Medicine (AAEM) Board of Directors on Thursday, February 22, 2024.


Emergency physicians work in hospital settings that provide patient care at all hours of the day, which necessitates shift work and overnight hours. Literature has shown that working nights can lead to pregnancy complications. These include miscarriage, preterm labor, hypertensive disorders of pregnancy, intrauterine growth restriction, and pre-eclampsia.1-7 In addition, the post-partum period is crucial for establishing an infant-parent relationship, breastfeeding and mental health. Returning to work emerges as a top reported reason for breastfeeding cessation.8 Despite high rates of breastfeeding initiation, physicians often have early cessation of breastfeeding which may be due to barriers like protected time and dedicated pumping space. 9-11 Resident physicians are more likely than attending physicians to stop breastfeeding early.14 Despite recognizing these risks, no national standards exist for flexible scheduling for pregnant or postpartum physicians.

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