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Can I use an AED on a Pregnant Woman?

At the end of every CPR class I teach, we play a game of True or False. Every time the question pops up, “Can an AED be used on a pregnant woman?” I get mixed answers. The correct answer: TRUE!

Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) can happen to ANYONE.  More than 360,000 people each year die from this. SCA does not discriminate and you should treat a pregnant woman as you would any other victim of SCA.

One major concern people have is will it harm the unborn child.  According to article released by the American Heart Association, responders attempting to treat a mother suffering a cardiac arrest should not be concerned about harming the fetus by doing chest compressions or by using an AED.  The AHA stated that neither compressions nor an AED will harm the fetus.  Not administering these life saving techniques will greatly decrease the chances for survival not only for the mother, but for her unborn child as well.

There are a few different precautions recommended by the AHA. First, when calling 911 inform the operator that the victim is pregnant.  This allows EMS responders to take special precautions, whether that is sending additional EMS responders or transporting the victim to a hospital that is more specialized to handle babies, if an early delivery is required.

Second, when beginning CPR, make sure to perform chest compressions the same as you would for a woman who is not pregnant. Make sure your compressions are hard and fast and targeted at the center of the chest at a rate of at least 100-120 compressions a minute.  Third, if the pregnant victim is revived, she should be placed on her left side to improve blood flow to the heart which in turn improves blood flow to the fetus.

I hope you never find yourself in a situation where you’re having to administer CPR or use an AED on a pregnant woman but if you do, please do not hesitate to administer the same lifesaving skills that you would on someone who is not pregnant. More than one life could depend on it.

Did you know that everyone at Coro Medical is CPR certified? If you have any questions about administering CPR or using an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) please reach out to us at 800-695-1209 or visit AED.US!


Written by Blaire
Customer Service Manager