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A biomechanical study of the birth position: a natural struggle between mother and fetus


Moura, Rita; Borges, Margarida; Oliveira, Dulce; Parente, Marco; Kimmich, Nina; Mascarenhas, Teresa; Natal, Renato (2022). A biomechanical study of the birth position: a natural struggle between mother and fetus. Biomechanics and Modeling in Mechanobiology, 21(3):937-951.

Abstract

Birth trauma affects millions of women and infants worldwide. Levator ani muscle avulsions can be responsible for long-term morbidity, associated with 13-36% of women who deliver vaginally. Pelvic floor injuries are enhanced by fetal malposition, namely persistent occipito-posterior (OP) position, estimated to affect 1.8-12.9% of pregnancies. Neonates delivered in persistent OP position are associated with an increased risk for adverse outcomes. The main goal of this work was to evaluate the impact of distinct fetal positions on both mother and fetus. Therefore, a finite element model of the fetal head and maternal structures was used to perform childbirth simulations with the fetus in the occipito-anterior (OA) and OP position of the vertex presentation, considering a flexible-sacrum maternal position. Results demonstrated that the pelvic floor muscles' stretch was similar in both cases. The maximum principal stresses were higher for the OP position, and the coccyx rotation reached maximums of 2.17[Formula: see text] and 0.98[Formula: see text] for the OP and OA positions, respectively. Concerning the fetal head, results showed noteworthy differences in the variation of diameters between the two positions. The molding index is higher for the OA position, with a maximum of 1.87. The main conclusions indicate that an OP position can be more harmful to the pelvic floor and pelvic bones from a biomechanical point of view. On the other side, an OP position can be favorable to the fetus since fewer deformations were verified. This study demonstrates the importance of biomechanical analyses to further understand the mechanics of labor.

Keywords: Childbirth biomechanics; Computational simulations; Fetal head molding; Fetal malposition; Finite element model; Sacrum-flexible position

Abstract

Birth trauma affects millions of women and infants worldwide. Levator ani muscle avulsions can be responsible for long-term morbidity, associated with 13-36% of women who deliver vaginally. Pelvic floor injuries are enhanced by fetal malposition, namely persistent occipito-posterior (OP) position, estimated to affect 1.8-12.9% of pregnancies. Neonates delivered in persistent OP position are associated with an increased risk for adverse outcomes. The main goal of this work was to evaluate the impact of distinct fetal positions on both mother and fetus. Therefore, a finite element model of the fetal head and maternal structures was used to perform childbirth simulations with the fetus in the occipito-anterior (OA) and OP position of the vertex presentation, considering a flexible-sacrum maternal position. Results demonstrated that the pelvic floor muscles' stretch was similar in both cases. The maximum principal stresses were higher for the OP position, and the coccyx rotation reached maximums of 2.17[Formula: see text] and 0.98[Formula: see text] for the OP and OA positions, respectively. Concerning the fetal head, results showed noteworthy differences in the variation of diameters between the two positions. The molding index is higher for the OA position, with a maximum of 1.87. The main conclusions indicate that an OP position can be more harmful to the pelvic floor and pelvic bones from a biomechanical point of view. On the other side, an OP position can be favorable to the fetus since fewer deformations were verified. This study demonstrates the importance of biomechanical analyses to further understand the mechanics of labor.

Keywords: Childbirth biomechanics; Computational simulations; Fetal head molding; Fetal malposition; Finite element model; Sacrum-flexible position

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Clinic for Obstetrics
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Scopus Subject Areas:Life Sciences > Biotechnology
Physical Sciences > Modeling and Simulation
Physical Sciences > Mechanical Engineering
Uncontrolled Keywords:Mechanical Engineering, Modeling and Simulation, Biotechnology
Language:English
Date:1 June 2022
Deposited On:03 Oct 2022 12:20
Last Modified:27 Feb 2024 02:45
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:1617-7940
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1007/s10237-022-01569-2
PubMed ID:35384526