JOURNAL ARTICLE
REVIEW

Trauma in pregnancy

Kenneth L Mattox, Laura Goetzl
Critical Care Medicine 2005, 33 (10 Suppl): S385-9
16215362

OBJECTIVE: The objective of this article was to review the existing standards of practice regarding trauma which occurs during pregnancy.

DESIGN: The design of this study was to review the available data from the surgical and obstetrical literature regarding trauma during pregnancy. The design was also to incorporate the contemporary recommendations from the trauma resuscitation courses relating to trauma during pregnancy.

RESULTS: Trauma occurs in 5% of pregnancies. A fetus is not considered to be viable until week 25. Motor vehicle accidents account for more than 50% of all trauma during pregnancy, with 82% of fetal deaths occurring during these automobile accidents. With life threatening trauma a 50% fetal loss rate exists. As anatomy, physiology, and even laboratory findings change during pregnancy, the clinician must consider both patients, the mother and fetus. Following blunt trauma abruption of the placenta is the more common cause of fetus loss. Anterior abdominal penetrating trauma almost never fails to injury the uterus and fetus in the last half of pregnancy. Preventive strategies exist in the areas of social violence, automobile restraints and use of alcohol and drugs by the mother. Perimortem caesarian section is rarely successful.

CONCLUSIONS: Trauma during pregnancy is uncommon, but with increasing trauma severity leads to increased fetal loss. Preventive strategies exist and when admitted monitoring standards should be followed.

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