While normal delivery requires disruption of the placental membranes (the “breaking of waters”), in one third of premature births delivery results from with mechanical rupture of the placental membranes prior to full-term gestation [1]. The biomechanical investigation of membrane rupture has thus been a subject of recent study [2–5]. In particular, mechanical investigations aimed specifically at understanding the membrane rupture process have concluded that the chorioamnion membrane bilayer breaks in two separate events, such that the chorion and amnion component layers fail independently, and that the delamination of the chorioamnion may represent a significant fraction of the total mechanical work done in membrane rupture [5]. The amnion is the stiffer and stronger of the two membrane layers, consisting primarily of a dense type I collagen network.

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