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CPR Instructions for Pregnancy

By Paula Quinene ; Updated June 13, 2017

CPR for a pregnant woman is the same as CPR for an adult. Chest compressions and rescue breaths oxygenate and circulate blood to the mother and her baby. Always look over the scene to make sure it is safe to enter before approaching the woman. If she is on a bed or couch, gently slide her to the floor to do CPR effectively. The pulse check is no longer done if you are not a health-care provider, according to the University of Washington School of Medicine.

  1. Check the pregnant victim by tapping her shoulder and asking if she is OK. Shout for help and point directly to a bystander to call the local emergency number if the victim does not respond and to advise the operator that the victim is pregnant. Call first if nobody else is at the scene, then provide care.

  2. Kneel on the floor with knees next to the victim’s shoulder and chest. Place the pinky side of the hand closest to her head on her eyebrows and two fingers of the other hand under her chin to open her airway.

  3. Lean close to her face and turn toward her chest to listen, look and feel for breathing. If there is no air and her chest does not rise and fall, pinch her nose shut as and seal her mouth with the lips to give one breath. Release her nose, inhale and give her one more breath while pinching her nose again. Maintain the head tilt-chin lift while performing the two rescue breaths.

  4. Immediately interlace the fingers of both hands, one hand on top of the other, and place the heal of the bottom hand on the center of the victim's chest. Lean over her chest so both shoulders are directly over the hands and both elbows are completely locked.

  5. Compress her chest about 1.5 to 2 inches for 30 compressions. Count aloud, “One and two and three and four and…” up to 30. Tilt her head and lift her chin to give her two breaths.

  6. Continue cycles of 30 compressions and two breaths until exhaustion, an automated external defibrillator is ready to use, another person trained in CPR arrives and takes over, the scene becomes unsafe or the pregnant victim shows signs of breathing.

  7. Warnings

    Get certified in CPR before performing these skills on a pregnant woman, reducing risk of liability.

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