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Childbearing Cardiologists Experience Adverse Effects

Adverse effects observed in physical health, finances, and career advancement; many experience illegal practices

MONDAY, March 14, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Many childbearing female cardiologists experience adverse effects in their physical health, finances, and career advancement, according to a study published in the March 22 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Martha Gulati, M.D., from the University of Arizona in Phoenix, and colleagues surveyed female cardiologists about their experiences while pregnant and on maternity leave to describe the impact on women and their careers within a legal framework.

The researchers found that 37.2 percent of the 323 respondents who had been pregnant as a practicing cardiologist required extra service or call before maternity leave. Overall, 17.5 percent of those who performed extra service or call and 7.4 percent of those who did not were placed on bedrest before delivery. During the year of pregnancy, 41.2 percent had a decrease in salary, 7.4 percent had their relative value units prorated for maternity leave, and nearly one quarter (23.2 percent) had no paid maternity leave. A total of 36.5 percent had self-reported pregnancy complications; compared with those without complications, those with complications had a 60 percent greater chance of reporting that pregnancy adversely affected their career. Two hundred thirty-seven respondents reported experiencing at least one troubling practice that is illegal in many circumstances.

“Childbearing is difficult for women in cardiology, with more than double the rate of gestational complications of the U.S. population, frequent income loss out of proportion to reduced productivity, and for nearly half, has an adverse impact on their career,” Gulati said in a statement.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the biopharmaceutical and medical device industries.

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