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Surg Radiol Anat. 2008 May;30(3):185-9. doi: 10.1007/s00276-008-0319-4. Epub 2008 Mar 5.

Pregnant woman and road safety: experimental crash test with post mortem human subject.

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Laboratoire de Biomécanique Appliquée, Faculté de Medecine secteur nord, UMRT 24 INRETS/Université de la Méditerranée, Boulevard Pierre Dramard, 13916, Marseille, France.



Trauma affect between 3 and 7% of all pregnancies in industrialized countries, and the leading cause of these traumas is car crashes. The difficulty to appreciate physiologic and anatomic changes occurring during pregnancy explain that majority of studies were not based on anatomical data. We present a protocol to create a realistic anatomical model of pregnant woman using a post mortem human subject (PMHS).


We inserted a physical model of the gravid uterus into the pelvis of a PMHS. 3D acceleration sensors were placed on the subject to measure the acceleration on different body segments. We simulated three frontal impact situations at 20 km/h between two average European cars.


Two main kinematics events were identified as possible causes of injuries: lap belt loading and backrest impact.


Cadaver experiments provide one interesting complementary approach to study injury mechanisms related to road accidents involving pregnant women. This anatomical accuracy makes it possible to progress in the field of safety devices.

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