An international study on attitudes and opinions regarding female sports medicine physicians during pregnancy and the postpartum period

Yuka Tsukahara*, Melissa Novak, Seira Takei, Irfan M. Asif, Fumihiro Yamasawa, Suguru Torii, Takao Akama, Hideo Matsumoto, Carly Day

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objectives: Supporting female sports medicine physicians to simultaneously be mothers and pursue professional careers is crucial to maintain gender diversity in sports medicine physicians. The purpose of this study is to understand the attitudes toward female sports medicine physicians during pregnancy and postpartum. Methods: An anonymous online survey was distributed to sports medicine physicians practicing in 51 different countries. They were asked how comfortable they felt with female sports medicine physicians working on the sidelines of sporting events during pregnancy, if the female sports medicine physicians were as productive as their male counterparts after giving birth, and how satisfied they were with the percentage of female sports medicine physicians in their country. Data were analyzed using the chi-square test, and multivariate logistic regression analysis was performed to identify independent variables. Results: In total, 1193 physicians (380 [31.9%] female) were included for analysis. Physicians in Asia were the least comfortable with pregnant sports medicine physicians working on the sidelines and those in North America were the most comfortable (odds ratio = 0.28 and 2.51, 95% confidence interval 0.18–0.44 and 1.55–4.06, respectively). More experienced sports medicine physicians (odds ratio = 1.01, 95% confidence interval 1.00–1.03; p < 0.05) and divorced physicians (odds ratio = 0.33, 95% confidence interval 0.12–0.91; p < 0.05) were less comfortable with pregnant female sports medicine physicians working on sidelines, and those trained in orthopedics were less likely to agree that female sports medicine physicians were equally as productive as male counterparts postpartum (odds ratio = 0.29, 95% confidence interval 0.10–0.88; p < 0.05). Female physicians were less satisfied with the percentage of female sports medicine physicians in their country (odds ratio = 0.41, 95% confidence interval 0.27–0.60; p < 0.01) than their male counterparts. Conclusions: Female sports medicine physicians may experience bias in their practice during pregnancy and postpartum.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPhysician and Sportsmedicine
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2022

Keywords

  • Sports medicine
  • gender bias
  • postpartum period
  • pregnancy
  • sexism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation

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