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Computational and Mathematical Methods in Medicine
Volume 2013, Article ID 165913, 6 pages
Research Article

Assessment of Parturition with Cervical Light-Induced Fluorescence and Uterine Electromyography

1Department of Perinatology, Division of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University Medical Center Ljubljana, Slajmerjeva 3, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia
2Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University Hospital Heidelberg, Im Neuenheimer Feld 672, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany
3Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center, Downtown Campus at TGen, 445 N 5th Street, Phoenix, AZ 85004, USA

Received 29 May 2013; Revised 15 August 2013; Accepted 20 August 2013

Academic Editor: Brynjar Karlsson

Copyright © 2013 Miha Lucovnik et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Parturition involves increasing compliance (ripening) of the uterine cervix and activation of the myometrium. These processes take place in a different time frame. Softening and shortening of the cervix starts in midpregnancy, while myometrial activation occurs relatively close to delivery. Methods currently available to clinicians to assess cervical and myometrial changes are subjective and inaccurate, which often causes misjudgments with potentially adverse consequences. The inability to reliably diagnose true preterm labor leads to unnecessary treatments, missed opportunities to improve neonatal outcome, and inherently biased research of treatments. At term, the likelihood of cesarean delivery depends on labor management, which in turn depends on accurate assessments of cervical change and myometrial contractility. Studies from our group and others show that noninvasive measurements of light-induced fluorescence (LIF) of cervical collagen and uterine electromyography (EMG) objectively detect changes in the composition of the cervix and myometrial preparedness to labor and are more reliable than clinical observations alone. We present a conceptual model of parturition constructed on cervical LIF and uterine EMG studies. We also explore how these methodologies could be helpful with managing patients experiencing preterm contractions and with optimizing labor management protocols aimed to reduce cesarean section.