CPR for First-Time Parents Faced with High-Risk Pregnancy
When Jennie Clinton was pregnant with her first child, the doctor gave her some unexpected news: She and her husband Ron were expecting triplets.
“We were first-time parents, it was a high-risk pregnancy and we were counseled about the many potential health issues,” Jennie said. Heart and breathing problems were among the leading risks for premature, vulnerable infants that had yet to fully develop. “We didn’t know what to expect, but we knew we were going to have to be vigilant.”
Doctors recommended CPR training as an important first step to prepare for bringing the infants home. Jennie and her husband signed up for Red Cross classes to learn how to identify signs of distress, to administer CPR and to be ready to respond quickly if one of the children needed help. “We wanted to be sure we would be able to snap into action, fast, and to be familiar and confident with the skills,” Jennie explained.
The training proved to be invaluable when they discovered one daughter had a heart irregularity and another had apnea, a condition that impacts breathing function. “When it came to feeding, there was an ever-present choking risk,” Jennie said. She reflected on how her experience highlighted a gap in the parenting, pregnancy and birthing education community: CPR training. “I think that parent support groups or Lamaze classes should consider doing this, it would be so beneficial.”
Today, Jennie is director of business continuity for Premera Blue Cross, a key Red Cross partner and sponsor of Save-a-Life Saturday 2015. This recent Red Cross training event drew over 250 people, of all ages, to learn hands-only CPR and give them the skills needed to save lives.
“People came with children, and even if they are young they can develop awareness and know to call for help if they sense something is wrong,” Jennie said. She added that one day, the tables could be turned. “Imagine, you are home, or out with your kids, and they are the ones who may need to help you, their parent.”