MRI Video Reveals Inside View Of Childbirth
June 28, 2012

MRI Video Reveals Inside View Of Childbirth

Connie K. Ho for — Your Universe Online

Shouts of pain are heard in the room. Beads of sweat are seen dripping down the mother´s face. These are just a few of the details that can be taken from a birthing scene. In moving one step further to reveal what childbirth looks like not only from the outside but also from the inside a mother´s womb, researchers recently released a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) video of a woman giving birth; the clip allows people the opportunity to better understand what childbirth looks like from the interior.

According to CBS News, the MRI took multiple images of the same body part and these images were then stitched together to create a 30-second cinematic clip. The film was created by German scientists at the Charite University Hospital in Berlin to demonstrate the interior of the birthing process. While images of the birth and the study were published in the November 2011 issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, but the real-time, detailed video of the birth was only recently released.

“This observational study shows, for the first time, that birth can be analyzed with real-time MRI. MRI technology allows assessment of maternal and fetal anatomy during labor and delivery,” wrote the authors in the report.

The video shows where the fetus´ is located in regards to the pelvis. Viewers can also catch a glimpse of the mother´s final push to move the baby out. Researchers believe that the video will help scientists better understand the travel pathway of the infant through the birth canal. Doctors can also learn how to better deliver and manage labor. In particular instances like cesarean deliveries, MRI videos such as these can alert the physician to any changes that need to be made.

"For the vast majority of women, letting nature take its course is a pretty good way to give birth," Dr. Marjorie Greenfield, division chief of general obstetrics and gynecology at University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland, told ABC News. "But it's interesting to find ways to understand it better. And if this helps us learn ways to avoid Cesarean section and have babies come out vaginally, there could be some benefit."

However, the authors note certain limitations to the study and the new technology.

“The mechanical factors that influence the progress of labor are of interest to obstetricians, but they are often difficult to investigate. For many years, digital examination was the only method that was used during labor to provide information about the mother's bony pelvis and soft tissue and the fetus. This method has the disadvantage that only limited areas of the fetus and birth canal can be assessed,” noted the authors in the report.

In future research, investigators hope to be able to visualize the first stage of labor by MRI.

“Future studies might also provide a basis for virtual reality computer programs to teach health care personnel in training,” concluded the authors in the paper.