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A pregnant woman model to study injury mechanisms in car crashes

Based on statistical analysis it has been estimated that 3 to 7% of pregnant women experience trauma, 2 third of those trauma are caused by car accidents. According to one epidemiologic study, the frequency of foetal losses could exceed the death frequency of children aged 0 to 4. Some numerical and experimental tools have recently been developed so as to better understand injury mechanisms leading to foetal losses, nevertheless shortcomings regarding the anatomy of the models must be outlined. Indeed they lack internal organs whereas there is a direct interaction with the uterine wall. Moreover the simplified amniotic fluid model (lagrangian) often implemented is not validated. To fulfil the need of an anatomically precise pregnant woman model, a first finite element model of a 9 month pregnant woman has been developed and validated via a PMHS thexperimental approach. This model was based on the Humos 50 centile male model and a simplified model of the amniotic fluid was used (Lagrangian). This paper will present the development and validation of the second generation of this model using the LS Dyna software. The geometry of the Humos 50th centile male model was adapted thto the anatomy of a 50 centile woman using scaling techniques with a special focus on the pelvis. The model integrates the uterine wall, the foetus, the placenta and an Euler model for the amniotic fluid and represents the anatomy of a 7 month pregnant woman. The uterus is surrounded with main internal organs and bones. An improved PMHS approach was used for validation purpose. Some belt loading of the abdomen and crash tests were realized and compared to the numerical response of the model in similar loading conditions. The pregnant numerical model exhibited a response in agreement with the PMHS tests and will be used to investigate mechanisms leading to fetal losses. A study on parameters influencing the risk of fetal loss is also projected and could ultimately lead to specific safety systems designs.