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Acta Biotheor. 2000 Jun;48(2):95-105.

A mathematical model of uterine dynamics and its application to human parturition.

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  • 1Laboratoire d'Instrumentation Physique, Université Paris--Val de Marne, Creteil, France.


We have developed a simple mathematical model with three physiologically significant states to describe the changes in intrauterine pressure associated with a contraction during human parturition. The myometrium is modelled as a set of smooth muscle cells, each of which is in one of three states (quiescent, contracted, refractory) at a given time. These states are occupied according to a cycle governed by three temporal parameters. The solutions of the equations describing the model show an oscillatory behavior for particular values of these parameters, which is very similar to the time dependent development of intrauterine pressure during labor. Due to its non-linear terms, our model could lead to chaotic oscillations (in the mathematical sense), whose clinical counterpart may occur in cases of dystocia. Despite its simplicity, this model appears to be a useful guide to further investigations of the oscillatory behavior of the myometrium, or other smooth muscles, in normal and pathological situations.

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