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
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina
Alexis Panzer
University of North Carolina Medical School, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Matthew Givens
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Marcela Smid
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah
Alice Chuang
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.