Obstetrics and Biomechanics

New Project: Mechanics and Trophoblasts

Cambridge University recently launched a Centre for Trophoblast Research. We are currently exploring pilot projects in trophoblast research with a bioengineering twist.

Mechanical Failures in Obstetrics

Preterm premature rupture of the placental membranes is associated with one third of premature births. It has been demonstrated that the mechanical properties of prematurely failed membranes are not different from membranes of the same gestational age which have remained intact. Therefore, membrane failure is a local process which can be explored in terms of local changes in structure and properties of isolated portions of the membrane. Factors including local membrane thickness changes, gestational age, delamination of the chorioamnion bilayer, and local alterations in amnion microstructure (at the length- scale of the collagen network) are being examined in the context of the membrane fracture behavior. Understanding of these factors may allow for pre-failure diagnosis of membrane weak spots, thus opening the door for potential intervention and treatment techniques for preterm membrane rupture.