It is no doubt that the female body is amazing. And, what it does during pregnancy and child birth is beyond amazing. How often do you find yourself staring at the size of your child's head wondering, "how in the world did THAT fit out of THERE?!"
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While it's no secret that the female body can accommodate a vaginal delivery, we have never been able to actually see exactly how the baby maneuvers his or her way out. That is, until now.
Seven women agreed to give birth inside of an MRI machine all in the name of a new study. For anyone who has had an MRI, you are familiar with just how restricting the space is. For those who haven't, picture yourself in a long, narrow tube with little room to move. Now, imagine being in one during labour!
Thanks to these brave women, Doctors at the University Hospital Center in Clermont-Ferrand, France were able to capture 3D images of the seven babies going through the birth canal. The images were able to illustrate just how their skulls overlap during the process, and how the brain is compressed. "When we showed the fetal head changing shape, we discovered that we had underestimated a lot of the brain compression during birth, "said Dr. Olivier Ami, the lead in the study.
The images of baby in utero, compared to baby moving into the birth canal are quite fascinating.
The skull typically returns to normal shape, without further complications. However, sometimes there are issues. The goal is to develop software that would help detect which babies are more likely to experience complications prior to labour. But, Mamas, don't panic! The study is targeting a very small demographic, meaning one in a thousand (or less).
"We hope in the very near future, we will be able to counsel the women correctly, inform them, and choose the best delivery mode. We would like to have more information to give women," Dr. Hany Aly, chair of the department of neonatology at Cleveland Clinic Children's, told NBC News.