BackTable / VI / Podcast / Episode #227
The Pregnant Interventionalist
with Dr. Barbara Hamilton and Dr. Aarti Luhar
Host Aparna Baheti interviews Barbara Hamilton and Aarti Luhar about navigating training and early career during a pregnancy. They discuss factors to consider such as scheduling, parental leave policies, radiation exposure risks, and childcare.
BackTable, LLC (Producer). (2022, July 22). Ep. 227 – The Pregnant Interventionalist [Audio podcast]. Retrieved from https://www.backtable.com
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Dr. Barbara Hamilton
Dr. Barbara Hamilton is the Chief of Interventional Radiology at Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs, California.
Dr. Aarti Luhar
Dr. Aarti Luhar is a practicing interventional radiologist with UCLA Health in Los Angeles.
Dr. Aparna Baheti
Dr. Aparna Baheti is a practicing Interventional Radiologist in Tacoma, Washington.
Our guests start by sharing their paths to motherhood. Dr. Luhar was pregnant as a diagnostic radiology trainee, while Dr. Hamilton was pregnant as an attending. We talk about the benefits of being part of a large department or group during maternity leave, due to more flexibility of scheduling changes and availability of coverage. Both of our guests recommend that IRs reach out to their HR departments as soon as they feel comfortable sharing their pregnancy news. Establishing contact with the department is a helpful way to clarify parental leave policies, specifically if one qualifies for parental leave and how long the leave can be. Additionally, Dr. Luhar encourages listeners to reach out to colleagues who have been pregnant before, since they can be a valuable resource for insights on the granular details of practicing IR while pregnant.
In terms of radiation as an occupational exposure, Dr. Hamilton did not change her caseload during pregnancy. She shares her preference to wear extra radiation protection around her waist. Dr. Luhar reached out to her hospital’s radiation physicist for guidance. She received the advice to use standard radiation protection and follow the principle of ALARA (as low as reasonably achievable). Additionally, we discuss the risks of pathogen exposure and needle sticks. Both doctors agree that having supportive staff and colleagues can make the pregnancy process more manageable.
Additionally, we discuss unexpected challenges during pregnancy. Dr. Hamilton describes her experience with the risk of premature labor and bedrest. Dr. Luhar recounts the struggle of scheduling prenatal appointments and dealing with pregnancy complications while working a full caseload. We close the episode by giving advice for evaluating the culture of your work environment, relying on support systems that are in place, and not being afraid to ask important questions.
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