1st April 2019 Friday Resus Ready First Aid Trivia

Is CPR different on a pregnant lady?

The scenario:

We would never want to be in this situation BUT if we had to perform compressions on a pregnant lady should we do anything different?


Option 1: No, Continue CPR as normal


Option 2: Yes, place a rolled up jacket or something soft under her right hip and continue CPR as normal

Results from the facebook poll are:

  • Option 1 – CPR as normal 26% 26%
  • Option 2 – Soft object under right hip 74% 74%

Firstly, I hope that no one would be in this situation.  It is difficult to perfom CPR on an adult let alone a pregnant female and I hope that this information can be helpful to everyone and used for better outcomes. 

If you are ever involved in a an incident where you have to perform CPR on a pregnant lady or infant then you MUST debrief.  It is extremely important for your health and wellbeing no matter what the outcome was. Even as a trained professional, I use the debriefing facilities at the hospital I work at because what we do takes a toll on our mental wellbeing and can effect us down the track.  Talking about what happened can help, this can be with your GP, lifeline or even meeting up with everyone involved in the incident.


With all of that in mind, here is the answer to this weeks trivia question…

If you answered Option 2 – Yes, place a rolled up jacket or something soft under her right hip and continue CPR as normal then you would be CORRECT!


The reason we add the object under the right hip has to do with anatomy.

For all humans we have a very big artery known as the decending aorta that travels down the middle of your chest and belly region (the red tubes in the picture).  This major artery provides oxgenated blood to the lower half of the body and in pregnant ladies to the fetus.


When a fetus is developing, a woman’s anatomy changes to accomodate for the growth of the developing infant.  As it grows, it puts a lot of pressure on the spine, internal organs and arteries and veins.


In a normal cardiac arrest the casualty is placed on their back on a firm surface and compressions are applied to the lower half of the sternum (chest bone).  The compression forces blood out of the heart into the accending aorta (artery going up towards the head and arms) and into the decending aorta (artery going down to the abdomen and legs) see image above.  We release the compression and blood fills into the heart again ready for the next compression to push the blood out again.




For a pregnant lady, when she is lying on her back, as we said, there is a lot of pressure on her decending aorta because the fetus is resting on it.  When compressions are performed with her on her back then it is very difficult for blood to push past the pressure of the fetus and so blood flow is limited to the fetus and to the lower half of her body.

A way to relieve this pressure, is to reposition her abdomen by placing a soft object under her right hip.  This twists her abdomen slightly, moving the fetus to the side while still keeping the upper chest flat so compressions can continue.

How do you remember which side to place the object one?  I like to remember that

“Mum is always right” 

for mum’s place an object under their right hip. Also its true, Mum is always right, especially when she tells you as an 8 year old that the pan is hot and you touch it anyway and still have the scar on your finger to prove it… Kids don’t do that and always listen to your mum.



Would you like to learn more helpful skills in CPR and First Aid?  Then why not get some friends and family together and book an in home CPR/First Aid session with Resus Ready.  I come to you with all the training manikins, trainer defibrillators and first aid equipement.  No experience necessary and learn in a friendly environment where questions are always welcome. Contact me on 0423 645 555 or use the book a course button below.


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Thank you to everyone who voted, if you would like to join in the next trivia poll,  like and follow www.facebook.com/resusready  


Have a question related to this weeks trivia, write it in the comments of the quiz post.

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