Trauma in the obstetrical patient

Christina C Hill
Women's Health 2009, 5 (3): 269-83; quiz 284-5
Trauma complicates approximately 6-7% of all pregnancies and is associated with significant maternal and fetal morbidity and mortality. While the majority of trauma is minor, it is minor trauma that contributes to the majority of fetal mortality. Since virtually every organ system is affected anatomically and physiologically by pregnancy, it is important for healthcare providers who care for trauma victims to be aware of these changes. While assessment and resuscitation considers the existence of two patients, stabilization of the mother takes priority. Diagnostic and radiologic procedures should be used as indicated, with fetal exposure to radiation limited as much as possible. Management of the pregnant trauma victim requires a multidisciplinary approach in order to optimize outcome for mother and fetus. This review discusses the epidemiology, assessment and treatment of pregnant trauma patients and reviews areas where prevention efforts may be focused.

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