• Learn These Vital CPR Techniques for Babies and Pregnant Women

    A first-aid instructor and former emergency responder shares the basics parents need to know.
    by Rachel Perez .
  • IMAGE startcpr1st.com
  • This is one of two parts. For the next one, our expert tackles first aid for choking. 

    To help you keep calm during an emergency situation, emergency responders talk about the golden period: zero to six minutes.

    From zero to four minutes, the risk of brain damage to an injured person who doesn't seem to be breathing is low. After the four-minute mark, between four to six minutes, his risk goes higher. "From eight to ten minutes, there's a probability of an irreversible brain damage, pero probability pa lang. Ten minutes and above, sigurado tayo na may brain damage," explains Edward Cuenca, a first-aid instructor at the American Safety and Health Institute during our "Smart Parenting Baby Shower," co-presented with Belo Baby at Crowne Plaza Galleria. 

    It's why knowing how to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is crucial for parents. During his talk, Cuenca said the steps for CPR are essentially the same with some modifications when it comes to pregnant women and infants. 

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    To help you remember what to do, Cuenca advises the use of this acronym: DRCAB (we strongly advise first-aid training to do any of the actions below). 

    Check for Danger
    Assessing the situation is helpful in preventing the same accident happening to you. "Tignan ninyo sa sarili ninyo, sa ibang tao, and 'yung paligid. 'Bakit nahimatay?' 'Bakit biglang nawalan ng malay?'" says Cuenca. 

    Check if the person is Responsive
    To do so, according to Cuenca, means you have to introduce yourself. Second, let them know that you are trained. And third, ask for consent. "'Pag kakilala ninyo, siyempre [you can do away with the first two steps], pero asking, can I help you?" is vital. 

    If you don't get a response, you can tap the victim and shout, "Are you okay?" Do this a few times, tapping a little harder each time. A victim is considered responsive if he is alert and fully conscious, responds to your questions verbally, looks at you when you address him, or makes a sound in response to pain.

    IMPORTANT: If the victim is unresponsive, "call the emergency services," Cuenca stresses. Remember, first aid is care given to a person who is injured or who suddenly becomes ill, at least until professional medical help arrives.  

    Then, check for normal breathing. Observe for five to 10 seconds and see if his or her chest rises. For infants, check if their abdomen rises. "Adults are chest breathers. Infants and elderlies are abdominal breathers," Cuenca explains.

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    Start Compression if the patient is not breathing normally
    Give 30 chest compressions by pressing hard and fast (at the rate of 100 compressions per minute) on the lower half-center of the chest. For adults, use the heel of one of your palms while placing your other hand on top of it. For infants, just use two fingers. Cuenca shares some guidelines:

    • Be careful of the "xiphoid process," a cartilage in the chest that can protrude in pregnant women. In some cases, emergency rescuers would tilt a pregnant woman at 27 to 30 degrees on her left side. (An ob-gyn tells preggos to sleep on their left side as well for comfort.) By the way, only medical personnel are qualified to do this. Emergency rescuers will then apply compression on the side.
    • Your shoulder and your arm should be perpendicular to the chest. Keep your arms straight.
    • Count out loud as you do the compression to ensure you are also breathing normally.

    Open the victim's Airway 
    Tilt the victim's head up by lifting his or her chin. Check if there's any barrier blocking his or her airways.

    Give Breaths
    "Open your mouth as if you’re biting an apple," illustrates Cuenca, when breathing into the victim's mouth and giving two blows. Some guidelines from Cuenca:

    • Give an average amount of breath, about one second of breath, or when you see the victim's chest rise. Cuenca explains, "'Pag adult ang binigyan niyo ng hininga, normal galing sa diaphragm. 'Pag child, galing sa lalamunan. 'Pag infant, [the breath] should seem like a puff of a cigarette."
    • When doing mouth-to-mouth on an infant, seal your mouth onto the baby's nose and mouth.
    • Breathe into the victim's mouth slowly but fully. It should be like how the person would normally breathe in air.

    So can a pregnant woman do CPR? Cuenca shares a rule he follows: When you have your ob-gyn's go-ahead signal to exercise, then you can do CPR. If not, then call the emergency hotline. 

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