January 17, 2007

Amazing 4D Scans Reveal Never Before Seen Images of Unborn Twins,Triplets and Quads

TRIPLETS cuddle up for the perfect family portrait - but these babies haven't been born yet.

This amazing computer-generated image was created by anew window into the womb - 4D ultrasound.

Its high frequency sound waves produce images of inside the body - like atraditional ultrasound scan.

With the 4D scan, however, sound waves bounce back more angles to make amore detailed, moving image.

Now scientists have used the scans to make clearer CG images and life-size silicone models of what it looks like inside the womb.

They've discovered that twins and triplets often jostle for space and reach out for each other.

It sometimes even appears as if they are kissing.

Scots obstetrician Professor Stuart Campbell, the pioneer of 4D scans inthe UK, performed the scans for a groundbreaking National Geographic documentary In the Womb: Twins, Triplets, Quads.

The show follows the development of twins and triplets.

It even shows a very rare set of identical quads in their quest for survival.

In The Womb: Twins, Triplets, Quads is on the National Geographic Channel on Sunday at 8pm and on Channel 4 on February 15 at 9pm.


THIS 4D ultrasound scan at 12 weeks reveals the pregnancy should have been triplets.

However, the empty placenta, on the right, shows vanished twin syndrome - leaving only two babies developing.

The condition arises when a foetus dies and is re-absorbed into the womb, often in the early stages of pregnancy.

Doctors believe it happens in 11 per cent of pregnancies.


FRATERNAL twins at 20 to 30 weeks development are portrayed in these silicone models.

Unlike identical twins, these foetuses are created by separately fertilised eggs and so grow within their own individual placenta and amniotic sac, which prevents them from touching each other during pregnancy.


THESE silicone models are copies of the quads carried by Julie Carles, who gave birth last year.

The rare foursome are identical, which means their mum's fertilised egg first split into two, then each of those embryos split again.

This amazing image of the foetuses recreates their development at seven months into the pregnancy.


IN the later stages of pregnancy, it is usually difficult to capture triplets on one scan because they have grown too big. But this computer-generated image gives us a rare look inside the womb and into their world.


THIS image of brotherly love was recreated using silicone models to portray how identical twin boys at 20 to 30 weeks gestation would look.

Snuggled together in the same placenta, these two measure just 20cm from crown to rump - around the length of daddy's hand - and would weigh around 350grams at this stage in their development.


THIS certainly is a close family.

The amazing new 4D scan technology appears to show these unborn twins getting up close and personal for a brotherly kiss.

Experts now believe such interaction between foetuses aids their development.

It is thought that the close contact within the womb may be mirrored in their social behaviour after the children are born.