Two experts from very different fields have teamed up to try and get a better understanding of why some women go into labor prematurely.
Medical advancements are being made in the present day faster than we can keep up with them. All this progression, yet the medical world still understands a lot less about pregnancy and the birthing process than you might think. Did you know that doctors are still unaware of what exactly causes a woman to go into labor? That's why the issue of preterm labor is one that can't normally be remedied.
If you have gone into labor earlier than you were supposed to, then you likely know all too well that there isn't much that can be done except to deliver the baby. Brittney Crystal is very aware of that and has sadly lost two babies to preterm labor. Crystal's cases are what inspired obstetrician Dr. Joy Sarah Vink to conduct some research into why we still know so little about the birthing process and what causes it, as reported by npr.
One of the key things medicine and science needs to have a better understanding of is the cervix. Once the cervix reaches a certain stage then there really is no stopping labor. That's why Dr. Vink has teamed up with an unlikely partner. A mechanical engineer by the name of Kristin Myers. Together, they are hoping their research into the cervix and preterm birth will help the latter from happening a lot less, and enable doctors with information on what to do if it does.
So why a mechanical engineer? Well, Myers commented on how rubber becomes softer and softer as you heat it up and her adviser compared that to how an aneurysm bulges before it bursts. That led Myers to work on the human body and eventually pregnancy. She and Dr. Vink have been taking cervical samples from a litany of women at different stages of pregnancy to determine how that part of the body alters throughout.
They have already discovered that the cervix is not made up of collagen, as previously thought. It also contains a lot of muscle. If they can understand why the cervix opens when it does, and thus what induces labor, the next step will be how to stop that from happening too early during pregnancy. If they can solve that riddle, a preterm birth could be prevented even after a woman's water has broken.