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Fetal outcome in motor-vehicle crashes effects of crash characteristics and maternal restraint.

In: American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Vol. 198, issue 4 (Apr. 2008), p. 450.e1-450.e9.

Authors: Kathleen DeSantis Klinich, Carol A.C. Flannagan, Jonathan D. Rupp, Mark Sochor, Lawrence W. Schneider, Mark D. Pearlman.

This project was undertaken to improve understanding of factors associated with adverse fetal outcomes of pregnant occupants involved in motor-vehicle crashes. In-depth investigations of crashes involving 57 pregnant occupants were performed. Maternal and fetal injuries, restraint information, measures of external and internal vehicle damage, and details about the crash circumstances were collected. Crash severity was calculated using vehicle crush measurements. Chi-square analysis and logistic regression models were used to determine factors with a significant association with fetal outcome. Fetal outcome is most strongly associated with crash severity (P < .001) and maternal injury (P = .002). Proper maternal belt-restraint use (with or without airbag deployment) is associated with acceptable fetal outcome (odds ratio = 4.5, P = .033). Approximately half of fetal losses in motor-vehicle crashes could be prevented if all pregnant women properly wore seat belts.Higher crash severity, more severe maternal injury, and lack of proper seat belt use are associated with a higher risk of adverse fetal outcome. These results strongly support recommendations that pregnant women use properly positioned seatbelts.

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