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Systematic Review

Pregnancy, parenthood, and fertility in the orthopaedic surgeon

a systematic review

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As an increasing number of female surgeons are choosing orthopaedics, it is important to recognize the impact of pregnancy within this cohort. The aim of this review was to examine common themes and data surrounding pregnancy, parenthood, and fertility within orthopaedics.


A systematic review was conducted by searching Medline, Emcare, Embase, PsycINFO, OrthoSearch, and the Cochrane Library in November 2022. The Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta Analysis were adhered to. Original research papers that focused on pregnancy and/or parenthood within orthopaedic surgery were included for review.


Of 1,205 papers, 19 met the inclusion criteria. Our results found that orthopaedic surgeons have higher reported rates of obstetric complications, congenital abnormalities, and infertility compared to the general population. They were noted to have children at a later age and voluntarily delayed childbearing. Negative perceptions of pregnancy from fellow trainees and programme directors were identified.


Female orthopaedic surgeons have high rates of obstetric complications and infertility. Negative perceptions surrounding pregnancy can lead to orthopaedic surgeons voluntarily delaying childbearing. There is a need for a pregnancy-positive culture shift combined with formalized guidelines and female mentorship to create a more supportive environment for pregnancy within orthopaedic surgery.

Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2023;105-B(8):857–863.

Correspondence should be sent to Catrin Morgan. E-mail:

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