The effect of placenta location on the safety of pregnant driver and her fetus
journal contributionposted on 06.01.2017, 10:58 by Serpil Acar, M. Meric
Placental abruption accounts for more than half of fetal mortality in automobile collisions. In most of the pregnancies, placenta is located at the fundus position of the uterus. However, in real life, placenta can also be found at different locations in the uterus. The goal of this study is to investigate whether the location of the placenta in the uterus of pregnant driver has a role on the risk of placental abruption in motor vehicle accidents. In addition to the most common fundus position, four other placental locations, namely anterior, posterior, lateral left and lateral right, are considered within the computational pregnant driver model ‘Expecting’, and used in collision simulations with impact severities from 15 to 30 kph with 5-kph increments. Scenarios also include four cases where the pregnant driver is fully restrained with three-point seatbelt and airbag, three-point seatbelt only, airbag only and no restraint at all. The maximum strains developed in the utero-placental interface of the model in this set of 64 simulations together with the fundus-location simulations are determined and compared in order to investigate the effect of placental location on the placental abruption prediction. Placenta located at anterior position is found to be at higher risk than other placental positions considered in this investigation. The results demonstrate that being fully restrained is the safest option and the three-point seatbelt is the most effective restraint system whilst the airbag makes a small contribution to the protection of pregnant driver and her fetus.