A normal pregnancy requires physical integrity of the fetal membrane (FM) until term delivery. Timely rupture of the fetal membrane is a vital part of term labor [1]. Premature failure of the FM, prior to full gestation, accounts for one third of all premature human births and affects 3% of all pregnancies [2]. Membrane rupture is either due to the release of the amniotic fluid, frequently signaling the onset of labor, or under a pathological circumstance [3]. In order to develop a rational basis for treatment and prevention of premature FM failure, we need first to understand FM structural and mechanical behavior. This includes its constituent layers at near full term under normal physiological loading states. Once these properties are established, we can then better formulate how the tissue transitions to the ability to fail at full term.

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