Abstract

During pregnancy, the cervix experiences significant mechanical property change due to tissue swelling, and to ongoing changes in the collagen content. In this paper, we model how these two effects contribute to cervical deformation as the pressure load on top of the cervix increases. The cervix and its surrounding supporting ligaments are taken into consideration in the resulting mechanical analysis. The cervix itself is treated as a multilayered tube-like structure, with layer-specific collagen orientation. The cervical tissue in each layer is treated in terms of a collagen constituent that remodels with time within a ground substance matrix that experiences swelling. The load and swelling are taken to change sufficiently slowly so that the collagen properties at any instant can be regarded as being in a state of homeostasis. Among other things, the simulations show how the luminal cross-sectional area varies along its length as a function of pressure and swelling. In general, an increase in pressure causes an overall shortening of the lumen while an increase in swelling has the opposite effect.

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