Birth recorded in an MRI scanner

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For the first time, a birth was recorded in an MRI scanner

At the end of 2010, researchers at the Berlin University Clinic Charité managed for the first time to record a birth in an MRI scanner. The birth video, which shows unique images of the 24-year-old mother's body, has now been released. The researchers hoped the recordings would provide new insights into the birth process. Above all, she was interested in why around 15 percent of pregnant women experience birth arrest, which results in a caesarean section.

MRI scanner instead of delivery room Obstetrician Christian Bamberg and his team celebrated a world premiere in late 2010 when little Dunkan was born. The birth went without complications, the clinic proudly announced after the birth. Because the boy was not born in an ordinary delivery room but in an open magnetic resonance tomograph (MRI). The doctors get unique images from inside the mother's body, which make the child's movements in the birth canal visible.

Now the researchers have published a video with the unique recordings for the first time. The 24-second excerpt appeared in the current issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology and shows the phase of childbirth that was particularly stressful for the mother when she tried to squeeze the child out. Among other things, it can be seen that the baby's head is elongated to pass through the narrow birth canal.

For the unusual birth, the researchers chose an open magnetic resonance tomograph instead of the usual tube in order to be able to optimally care for and touch the mother throughout the entire period. In addition, the woman was able to move during labor. Two years before the birth, a working group began developing a special monitoring monitor so that the baby's heart sounds could also be measured on the MRI.

New scientific knowledge about childbirth The researchers expected new scientific knowledge about the birth process. For example, it was of particular interest why around 15 percent of pregnant women stop giving birth. According to the researchers, this makes a caesarean section necessary.

Since the birth surgery is not without risks, doctors and parents usually prefer a natural birth. Complications with side effects from the anesthetic, thrombosis, infections through the wound, embolism and bleeding threaten to occur during the invasive anesthetic procedure. Various study results suggest that children born by Caesarean section are more likely to suffer from infectious diseases, allergies or asthma later in life. If a parent suffers from type 1 diabetes, the risk of the metabolic disorder being passed on to the child through the Caesarean section birth increases.

Before the spectacular birth images of the MRI, only X-rays were available. The knowledge about childbirth is partly based on assumptions from the 19th century, the researchers explained.

In addition to the new scientific findings, the MRT birth also led to criticism. It was feared that the magnetic fields and noise from the MRI could damage the baby. In fact, the images are created by strong magnetic fields. There is also a very loud noise so that the mother had to wear headphones during childbirth. However, the device was switched off to protect the child when the amniotic sac burst. Before that, his ears were protected by the amniotic fluid. (ag)

Image: by-sassi /

Author and source information

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