The progression of 3D technology is laboring towards taking the guesswork out of childbirth. Standard tools such as ultrasound have been given a high-tech boost and are able to create amazingly accurate images of what is happening inside the body. Now, researchers at the University of East Anglia have developed a system that is able to simulate births for specific patients on a case by case basis, to help doctors and midwives better understand and prepare for difficult and unusual births.
Developed by the UEA scientists, the program uses a series of 3D graphics to simulate the movements of the baby down toward the pelvic floor during birth. Using ultrasound data, the system takes into account the mother’s unique physiology, and can even calculate the amount of force of pushing during labor and the presence of a midwife’s hands. The simulations allow doctors to envision outcomes of a birth on a completely individual basis.
“Because this program is patient-specific, doctors and midwives will be able to see how a birth may take place before it has happened on a case-by-case basis. For example, you would be able to see if a baby’s shoulders will get stuck,” offers project leader Dr. Rudy Lapeer from the UEA’s school of Computing Sciences.
By running through different scenarios, mother, baby, and medical staff can all be prepared for complications and remain one step ahead of a problem. The UEA team presented their work at the recent International Conference on E-Health and Bioengineering in Romania.
Images via UEA and Wikicommons user Andres Nieto Porras