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    Multiple pregnancies, the myometrium and the role of mechanical factors in the timing of labour

    Arrowsmith, Sarah ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-1102-1934 (2023) Multiple pregnancies, the myometrium and the role of mechanical factors in the timing of labour. Current Research in Physiology, 6. p. 100105. ISSN 2665-9441

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    Multiple pregnancy remains a relatively common occurrence, but it is associated with increased risks of adverse outcomes for the mother and her babies and presents unique challenges to healthcare providers. This review will briefly discuss multiple pregnancies, their aetiology and their problems, including preterm birth, before reviewing the processes leading to normal labour onset and how they may be different in a multiple pregnancy. The mechanisms by which mechanical factors i.e., uterine distension or ‘stretch’ contribute to uterine excitability and the timing of labour onset will be the major focus, and how over distention may pre-dispose multiple pregnancies to preterm birth. This includes current thinking around the role of mechano (stretch) sensitive ion channels in the myometrium and changes to other important regulators of excitability and contraction which have been identified from studies using in vitro and in vivo models of uterine stretch. Physiological stimuli arising from the fetus(es) and placenta(s) will also be discussed. In reviewing what we know about the myometrium in multiple pregnancy in humans, the focus will be on twin pregnancy as it is the most common type of multiple pregnancy and has been the most studied.

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