PLS in pregnant women: what special features?

First aid measures can save lives. Choking, cardiac arrest, feeling unwell… Knowing them helps to deal with everyday accidents. Among these gestures lateral safety position (PLS) brings a person to safety, the time when help arrives. Should this gesture be performed differently for pregnant women? With Anh-Chi Ton, Midwife, we take stock of these subtleties.

Definition: What is Placing in the Side Safety Position? What is it for ?

The lateral safety position is essential among the first aid gestures. It is only performed when the victim is unconscious but breathing normally. By placing the victim on their side, the side safety position prevents tongue choking or possible vomiting.

What is the PLS procedure for pregnant women?

Whether it is a pregnant woman or not, the lateral safety position is achieved within a very specific procedure. First we call an emergency number (15 for the Samu, 18 for the fire brigade or 112): professionals go to the victim as quickly as possible and, staying on the line, can accompany us in the measures to be carried out or not.

Check if the victim responds or not when you call them. Attention, never shake! Explain well to the emergency services over the phone that the person is unconscious, then check if they are breathing. For ten seconds we try to feel if the chest moves and if air comes out of the victim’s mouth. In this case, a PLS must be carried out. Otherwise cardiac massage.

Next, the airway of the unconscious person must be cleared. We’re going to tilt his head back very gently to allow him to avoid tongue-lopping. In fact, when you’re unconscious, your muscles relax and the risk of tongue choking is greater. At the same time, you can also untie the victim’s tie or belt if they are wearing one. If it’s a person on a motorcycle wearing a helmet, we don’t take it off.

A safety lateral position is carried out in several steps.

First, the victim is laid flat on the ground. If the unconscious person wears glasses, they are removed.

It is then important to ensure that the legs are well stretched in the body axis.

After that, position the victim’s arm (closest to you) at a right angle, and then bend the elbow so that the hand is facing up.

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© Red Cross

Then we take the other arm (the one on the other side of you) and put the back of the victim’s hand to the ear, which is on your side.

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© Red Cross

Subsequently, we raise the knee of the farthest leg and roll the victim to us. Make sure the airway is patent.


© Red Cross

Vena cava: on which side should the pregnant woman be placed? Why ?

Be careful, if the unconscious person is pregnant you need to be careful of the side you put them on. “ If you are giving a PLS to a pregnant woman, it is important to put it on her left sidesignals Anh-Chi sound. Indeed, on the right side is the inferior vena cava, which is very important for blood circulation. In addition, from the second or even third trimester of pregnancy, pregnant women are recommended to lie on their left side, otherwise the uterus may squeeze the vena cava and cause discomfort. »

First aid applications to be more efficient

First aid gestures are not learned overnight, here are two uses that can be more than useful in case a person needs assistance:

– The Red Cross application: this application gives you all the information about life-saving gestures, as well as a multitude of advices adapted to all situations.

– SAUV Life: This application is ideal for when cardiac massage is required. The latter establishes contact with pre-registered rescuers in the vicinity. This makes it possible to have a rescuer on the spot quickly and save valuable time.

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