At the end of every CPR class I teach, we play a game of True or False. One of the most common questions each time is, “Can you use an AED on a pregnant woman?” While there often appears to be some uncertainty, the answer is absolutely TRUE. It is safe to use an AED during pregnancy. Keep reading to learn more about AED usage and performing CPR on a pregnant woman.
Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) claims more than 475,000 American lives each year. SCA does not discriminate, so you should treat a pregnant woman as you would any other victim of SCA.
A major concern people have when talking about using an AED on a pregnant woman is whether or not it will hurt the 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. In other words, performing CPR in pregnancy is safe for the fetus. In fact, choosing not to administer these life saving techniques will greatly decrease the chances for survival not only for the mother, but for her unborn child as well. As for those wondering how to use an AED on a pregnant woman, the answer is simple: you use the same technique you would if the victim were not pregnant.
Best Practices for CPR on a Pregnant Woman
That said, there are a few different precautions and best practices recommended by the AHA when administering CPR on a pregnant woman:
- When you call 911, inform the operator that the patient is pregnant. This allows EMS responders to take special precautions, whether that involves sending additional EMS responders or transporting the patient to a hospital that is more specialized to handle babies in the event that an early delivery is required.
- When you begin CPR, make sure to perform chest compressions the same as you would for a woman who is not pregnant. Your compressions should be hard, fast, and targeted at the center of the chest at a rate of at least 100-120 compressions per minute.
- If the pregnant patient is revived, she should be placed on her left side to improve blood flow to the heart. This will help increase blood flow to the fetus as well.
So can you use an AED on a pregnant woman? Absolutely! And while you will hopefully never find yourself in a situation where you have to administer CPR or use an AED on a pregnant woman, 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 our team of experts at 800-695-1209 or visit AED.us to learn more.
- AHA. “American Heart Association”. 23 November 2020.
Written by Blaire Czarniecki
Customer Service Director
Fact checked by Phillip Woods, BA, NREMT-P, FP-C
Blaire attended the University of Tennessee where she graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Human Ecology- Child and Family Studies. She has been in the Automated External Defibrillator (AED) industry for over eight years and is the Director of Customer Service for Coro Medical. Blaire is also an American Red Cross-certified CPR/AED/First Aid Instructor, highly trained by each manufacturer on their specific AEDs, and knowledgeable regarding ALL State AED regulations and legislation.
“I know that every day I come to work, I am playing a part in saving someone’s life. I am passionate about these devices and am always looking for new and innovative ways to spread awareness and knowledge about Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA). I look forward to the day when everywhere I go, I will see an AED—when SCA will no longer take any lives.”
Last updated July 25, 2019