CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 · AJP Rep 2018; 08(02): e64-e67
DOI: 10.1055/s-0038-1641723
Case Report
Thieme Medical Publishers 333 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001, USA.

Preclinical Labor-and-Delivery Shadowing: The Impact on Medical Students' Perceptions of Obstetrics and Gynecology

Sarah Dotters-Katz
1  Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina
Alexis Panzer
2  University of North Carolina Medical School, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Matthew Givens
3  Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Marcela Smid
4  Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah
Alice Chuang
5  Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
› Author Affiliations
Funding None.
Further Information

Publication History

06 September 2017

23 February 2018

Publication Date:
11 April 2018 (online)



Objective We sought to determine the impact of preclinical exposure (shadowing) to labor and delivery (L&D) on medical students' perceptions of obstetrics and gynecology (OB/GYN).

Study Design We administered a written survey to rising third-year medical students at a single center prior to any clerkship. We described motivation/deterrents for shadowing among students, and experiences/perceptions of those students who shadowed.

Results In total, 119/136 (86%) students completed the survey. Of those, 29% participated in shadowing on L&D. Participating students were more likely to be female (79 vs. 21%; p < 0.01) and in their first year (85%). Ninety-one percent participated because they wanted more exposure to OB/GYN, whereas only 53% they were interested in OB/GYN. Students who did not shadow indicated not having enough time as the main reason. After participation, 82% had more perspective on OB/GYN than prior to shadowing. Ninety-seven percent felt that the experience was worthwhile; 62% stated based on their experience that they were likely to consider a career in OB/GYN. All students who participated stated that they would opt to shadow again if given the opportunity.

Conclusion Students who have L&D shadowing exposure report very positive experiences and express desire for increased opportunities. OB/GYN departments may consider increasing availability of L&D shadowing opportunities for preclinical medical students.

Ethical Approval

Ethical approval was granted by the Institutional Review Board at the University of North Carolina on January 8, 2016 (IRB#15–3100–Exempt).


This study was presented, in part, as a poster presentation at the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Council on Resident Education in Obstetrics and Gynecology National Meeting in Orlando, FL, in March, 2017.