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Pregnancy during cardiology training: a call to action
  1. Sarah M Birkhoelzer1,
  2. Francis J E Gardner2,
  3. Rebecca F Ortega3,
  4. Roxana Mehran4
  1. 1 Cardiology, Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust, Portsmouth, UK
  2. 2 Gynaecology, Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust, Portsmouth, UK
  3. 3 Women as One, Charlotte, North Carolina, USA
  4. 4 Cardiology, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, New York, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Sarah M Birkhoelzer, Cardiology, Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, Portsmouth PO6 3LY, UK; Sarah.birkhoelzer{at}

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The pregnant cardiologist

In the UK, 28% of cardiology trainees and 13% of cardiologists post completion of training are women; in the USA they represent 20% and 12%, respectively.1 2 The years spent in training and early practice represent women’s prime childbearing years. Competing demands on female trainees might be the reason why many women do not choose cardiology.3 What, therefore, are effective ways to negotiate these issues and not lose talent in cardiology?

Concerns regarding pregnancy during cardiology training

During pregnancy, a wide spectrum of biological and psychological disturbances can impact on the individual’s clinical training performance. These include the impact of fertility treatment, pregnancy symptoms, radiation exposure during pregnancy, shift work, securing maternity leave and childcare (figure 1). Due to the limited number of women in cardiology, those who are pregnant may also feel isolated and unsupported, particularly if they have experienced miscarriages or required fertility treatment.

Figure 1

Concerns of the pregnant cardiologist.

It is important to raise awareness about fertility issues and pregnancy complications which are prevalent among cardiologists (miscarriage, pre-term delivery, pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes) and often lead to the use of assisted reproductive technology.4 …

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  • Contributors All authors equally devised the manuscript, created and revised drafts, performed independent literature reviews and agreed on the content of the finalised and revised 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 None declared.

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

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