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J Theor Biol. 1988 Jan 21;130(2):213-21.

The theory of fibre-reinforced composite materials applied to changes in the mechanical properties of the cervix during pregnancy.

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Department of Medical Biophysics, University of Manchester, U.K.


A theory is presented that relates changes in the mechanical properties of the uterine cervix during pregnancy and the puerperium to changes in biochemical composition. The cervical connective tissue is considered as a fibre-reinforced composite material in which collagen fibres are embedded in a gel-like ground substance. Theories derived from synthetic fibrous composites show that changes in the collagen concentration and organization, alteration of the relative proportions of molecular species in the ground substance and changes in the water content can account for the marked alteration in mechanical properties observed by the end of pregnancy.

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