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Women with physical disability in pregnancy resident education: a national survey as a needs assessment for curriculum improvement in obstetrics and gynaecology in Canada
  1. Gharid Nourallah Bekdache1,
  2. Anne Berndl2
  1. 1 Maternal Fetal Medicine Division, Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  2. 2 Obstetric and Gynecology, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  1. Correspondence to Gharid Nourallah Bekdache; gbekdache{at}


Objectives To explore the current status to which Canadian obstetrics and gynaecology (Ob-Gyn) programmes teach residents about pregnancy in patients with physical disabilities, and to assess the level of interested in providing formal education sessions in this field. This study also assesses the residents’ perception of their knowledge and their comfort level caring for women with physical disabilities (WWPD), which will further determine the need for incorporation of this topic into the residency curriculum.

Design Cross-sectional survey.

Setting All Canadian English accredited Ob-Gyn residency programmes.

Participants Programme directors and residents.

Main outcome measures The current self-reported education and exposure Canadian Ob-Gyn residents have surrounding WWPD in pregnancy, and if there is an interest in further education in this area.

Methods An online survey was developed and distributed to all Canadian English accredited Ob-Gyn residency programme directors and residents. Answers were collected over a 2-month period in 2017, which consisted of an initial email and two email reminders. Questions were in three key areas: demographic characteristics, knowledge gap and level of interest in a formal method of education.

Results Eighty-four residents and nine programme directors participated in the surveys. Eighty-six per cent of residents and all programme directors responded that there are no formal scheduled training sessions on WWPD as part of the residency curriculum. Two-thirds of the residents reported being uncomfortable with the management issues surrounding a woman with a disability in pregnancy. A vast majority of residents (91.67%) and all programme directors have an interest in incorporating this topic into the residency curriculum to meet the need of pregnant women with disabilities.

Conclusions This survey indicated that there is both a need for and interest in education in the area of pregnancy and physical disability in the Canadian Ob-Gyn residency programme. This information suggests that the development of educational materials in this area should be considered to address an unmet need with the ultimate goal of improving the care provided to WWPD in pregnancy. Future projects in this area should focus on content development taking into account the CanMEDS and competency-based medical education framework.

  • curriculum
  • physical disability
  • pregnancy
  • needs assessment
  • resident education

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  • Contributors AB was involved in study conception, survey design and supervision of research. GNB was involved in the development of the online survey, data acquisition, interpretation of the data and drafting the manuscript.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests AB: reports grants from Sunnybrook AFP grant and grant from University of Toronto Department of Neurology New Initiatives Program, both grants are outside the submitted work: Sunnybrook AFP grant: Funding for other non-related trial entitled ’High Volume Foleys increasing Vaginal Birth feasibility trial' and University of Toronto Department of Neurology New Initiatives Program: Funding for other non-related study ’A Patient-Oriented study on Pregnancy in Myasthenia Gravis'.

  • Ethics approval Residents and programme directors were reviewed and approved by the hospital’s Research Ethics Board 036–2017.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement There are no additional data available.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

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