How to perform CPR on a pregnant woman
Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation, or CPR, is a potentially lifesaving first aid technique. Briefly, CPR is made up of chest compressions and rescue breaths (For more information visit our friends over at What is CPR?).
Performing CPR on a pregnant woman is a special case which requires a slight adjustment to the conventional CPR technique. Normally during CPR training we teach students to perform CPR with the casualty lying flat on their back, this provides the most effective platform to deliver high quality chest compressions.
However if a woman is in the later stages of pregnancy then it is important NOT to place them flat on their back. This is because the weight of the foetus (the growing baby) can compress a major blood vessel responsible for returning blood to the heart (the inferior vena cava – IVC). This will reduce the effectiveness of any CPR you perform.
Instead you need to tilt their hips sightly to the left. You can achieve this by placing something (rolled blankets, clothing etc.) under their right hip to tilt it to the left. By doing this you will relieve the pressure on the blood vessel and allow blood to return to the heart.
Want to develop your CPR knowledge? Why not try our free Adult CPR practice test!