How To Administer CPR on Pregnant Women

April 5, 2016Comments Off on How To Administer CPR on Pregnant Women

Cardiac arrest can happen to anyone in no particular time. Kids and pregnant women are not exceptions to suffering from this condition. When cardiac arrest strikes on women that are carrying a life inside of them, certain factors have to be considered.

The first thing that one can do is to fully understand the physical changes that a woman’s body undergoes during pregnancy. These changes will significantly affect resuscitation and chances of survival of both the mother and the infant.

Blood flow has to be considered when one administers CPR. A pregnant woman, for that matter, will have her blood volume increased by 50%. Her red cell volume increases for only 30%. To accommodate this volume, the woman’s heart has to work extra hard by increasing the heart rate by 15%.

Aside from this, a woman’s respiratory system has moved upward to accommodate the growth of the uterus that houses the infant. This in turn leads to displacement of trachea and the diaphragm. Notice how pregnant women tend to breathe faster than normal. This is her respiratory system’s attempt to meet the increased oxygen need.

Another thing that has to adjust to give space for the growing infant is the gastrointestinal aspect of the body. Due to the displacement of the stomach as it moves upward, a pregnant woman is considered to be prone to heartburn and constipation. In fact, pregnant women are always considered to have a “full stomach” increasing the risk for aspiration or the drawing of foreign matter into the lungs, especially during resuscitation.

The biggest change happens in the uterus to house the infant for 8 to 9 months. The uterus has gone so big that there is a higher risk of aortocaval compression when the woman is in a supine position that can lead to hypotension and loss of consciousness.

All of these changes in the body of a pregnant woman has to be considered in case of a cardiac arrest event. The first step will always be to get someone to call help but in this situation mention that the victim is a pregnant woman and request the presence of an obstetrician.

To administer the required sets of compression, the rescuer must manually move the uterus to the left to ensure that the major veins have blood flow. Just like with any cardiac arrest victim make sure that the victim is lying on a flat surface and if the surface can be tilted make use of it. When the worst scenario happens, consider getting a caesarean section (C-section) to get the baby out. Professional help is much needed to secure the safety of both the mother and the baby.

These guidelines are considered safe and have helped save more lives. It is noteworthy that the mortality rate of pregnant women due to cardiac arrest has significantly decreased since these guidelines are issued by the American Heart Association (AHA).

CPR, undoubtedly, saves lives. Even in delicate situations, it increases the survival rate of a cardiac arrest victim. This is why it is of utmost important that everyone know the basics of administering the proper CPR on different persons—children, pregnant women, and the like.