Can You Use An AED On A Pregnant Woman?
Yes, you can. An automated external defibrillator (AED) is a small device that can be used to restore normal heart rhythm when someone goes into sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). The device works by sending an electric shock to the heart through electrodes placed on the chest. The shock helps the heart muscles contract and return the heart to a normal rhythm. This can help save lives if it’s used in time.
AEDs are designed for use on adults with medical conditions other than pregnancy, but they have been tested on pregnant women with no problems identified. Meaning, if you come across an expectant mother suffering from SCA don’t hesitate to use an AED!
Will An AED Detect A Fetal Heartbeat?
Now, you may be wondering if an AED will detect a fetal heartbeat, alongside that of the mother and what implications that may cause. Not to worry, it can't. An AED cannot detect a normal rhythm or pulse, it is programmed to sense arrhythmia of the heart. Only a trained medical professional can detect a fetal heartbeat with proper monitoring and equipment like an ultrasound machine.
Where Do You Place AED Pads On A Pregnant Woman?
If you have determined that an expectant mother is in cardiac arrest, you may be feeling a bit nervous about using an AED, and wondering where you place the AED pads on a pregnant woman. Fortunately, the process is relatively simple so long as you remain calm and confident. Below, are the necessary steps to follow for electrode pad placement:
There will be two electrode pads with the AED, remove these from their packaging and get ready to place them on the victim’s bare chest (you may have to remove some clothing to do so);
Place the first pad on the right side of her chest, just under her collarbone, and the other on the left side of her chest, close to her armpit;
Then, wait for the AED to analyze the mother's heartbeat. At this time, make sure nobody is touching the patient. This will allow the device to fully assess her condition, and will ensure everyone's safety should a defibrillation shock be necessary.
Thankfully, AEDs use screen displays and voice prompts to direct you through life-saving resuscitation efforts after you have completed placing the pads. The hardest part will be the mental stamina needed while waiting for the emergency first responders to arrive.
AEDs Are Safe To Use Even On Expectant Mothers
In conclusion, using an AED on a patient who is pregnant is safe and effective. Therefore, individuals should feel comfortable using an AED on a pregnant woman suffering from SCA while they wait for emergency medical help to arrive at the scene. Remember, AEDs are designed to be used by the average bystander with no medical training, they are very straightforward and using one in a medical emergency could save a life (or two!).