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Protecting the Pregnant Occupant: Dynamic Material Properties of Uterus and Placenta
Automobile crashes are the largest cause of death for pregnant females and the leading cause of traumatic fetal injury mortality in the United States. The first way to protect the fetus is to protect the mother considering that maternal death has a near 100% fetal loss rate. If the mother survives, protection of the fetus may best be accomplished by preventing placental abruption. Placental abruption, which is the premature separation of the placenta from the uterus, has been shown to account for 50% to 70% of fetal losses in motor vehicle crashes.
Since real world crash data for pregnant occupants is limited to a retrospective analysis and pregnant cadaver studies are not feasible, crash test dummies and computational modeling have been utilized to evaluate the risk of adverse fetal outcome. Although pregnant occupant research has progressed with these tools, they are based on limited tissue data. In order to have more accurate research tools, better pregnant tissue material data are needed. Therefore, the purpose of this dissertation is to provide material properties for the placenta and pregnant uterine tissue in dynamic tension.