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J Trauma. 1998 Jul;45(1):83-6.

Trauma in pregnancy: maternal and fetal outcomes.

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Division of Trauma, University of California San Diego Medical Center, USA.



Pregnancy imposes significant physiologic demands that may confuse and complicate the evaluation, resuscitation, and definitive management of pregnant women who sustain trauma. Accurate prediction of fetal outcome after trauma remains elusive. The objective of this study was to characterize patterns of injury in pregnant women, to determine if pregnancy affects maternal morbidity and mortality after trauma, and to identify predictors of fetal death.


We performed a retrospective, case-control analysis of all injured pregnant patients admitted to the Trauma Service at the University of California San Diego Medical Center from 1985 to 1995.


We identified 114 injured pregnant patients. Motor vehicle crashes accounted for 70% of injuries, and of these, 46% of patients were not using seat belts or helmets. Violence accounted for 12% of injuries. Injured pregnant women with Injury Severity Scores > 8 demonstrated similar mortality, morbidity, and length of stay to matched nonpregnant control patients. Pregnant women were more likely to sustain serious abdominal injury and were less likely to sustain severe head injury. Identified risk factors for fetal loss include maternal death, overall maternal injury severity, the presence of severe abdominal injury, and the presence of hemorrhagic shock.


There appears to be a group of pregnant women in San Diego at high risk for traumatic injury who should be targeted for preventative strategies including improved seat belt use. Pregnancy does not increase mortality or morbidity after trauma but influences the pattern of injury. Maternal death, high Injury Severity Score, serious abdominal injury, and hemorrhagic shock are risk factors for fetal loss.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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