Key Messages

The Victorian State Trauma System provides support and retrieval services for critically injured patients requiring definitive care, transfer and management. This obstetric trauma guideline provides evidence-based advice on the initial management and transfer of major trauma patients who present to Victorian health services with obstetric trauma. Changes in pregnancy presents a complex scenario for the health care professional.

This guideline is developed for all clinical staff involved in the care of trauma patients in Victoria. It is intended for use by frontline clinical staff that provide early care for major trauma patients; those working directly at the Major Trauma Service (MTS) as well as those working outside of a MTS.

These guidelines provide the user with accessible resources to effectively and confidently provide early care for critically injured patients. They provide up-to-date information for frontline healthcare clinicians. The guideline has followed the AGREE II methodology for guideline development and is under the auspice of the Victorian State Trauma Committee (VSTC).1
Changes in pregnancy presents a complex
scenario for the health care professional


 Clinical emphasis points

  • An obstetric trauma patient presents a complex scenario that requires multidisciplinary care of both the mother and unborn child.
    Even minor trauma may lead to complications and require thorough investigation.
  • The normal physiological changes of pregnancy affect the clinical assessment and management of obstetric trauma patients.
  • Obstetric trauma patients require careful positioning to reduce the impact of aortocaval compression.
  • Best fetal outcomes are the result of early maternal resuscitation.
  • Early management in obstetric trauma aims to carefully manage fluid status, maintain oxygenation and prevent hypothermia.
  • Adult Retrieval Victoria (ARV) is the first point of call to initiate retrieval and transfer for adults and Paediatric and Infant Perinatal Emergency Retrieval (PIPER) for paediatrics.  
  • Time-critical patients are retrieved to the Royal Melbourne Hospital, with other obstetric patients transferred to a hospital with obstetric and trauma capability.
  • The main goal of early care is to ensure optimum resuscitation in the emergency setting as well as activation of the retrieval network, with timely transfer to an appropriate facility.