Baby's birth captured in MRI movie for the first time
Mother gave birth in a specially-designed 'open' MRI scannerFootage shows 30 seconds of second stage of labour as mother tries to push baby down the birth canal
12:50 GMT, 27 June 2012
Doctors at a Berlin hospital have released an MRI video that shows the first real-time footage of a baby being born – from the inside.
The team led by Dr Christian Bamberg made the medical breakthrough in November 2010 but only published still images at the time.
The 30-second movie shows the second stage of labour as the 24-year-old volunteer mother attempts to push the baby out of her body. Medics had to stop recording before the baby emerged to ensure the newborn wasn't exposed to MRI noise.
The film could provide valuable insights into the birthing process as it has allowed scientists to see details previously only studied with probes. It could help explain why around 15 per cent of women have Caesarian sections because their babies don't move sufficiently into the birth canal.
While most MRI machines are tube-shaped,
the team at Berlin's Charit Hospital developed a special 'open' scanner which provided the
necessary room for midwives and the German mother during the birth on
The mother spent 45 minutes inside the MRI machine during the second stage of her labour.
Gynaecologist Ernst Beinder said the
birth proceeded normally and the machine filmed all the movements and
processes that went on inside the womb.They were even able to use the
machine to monitor the baby's heart beat.
The video (clockwise from top left) shows the baby being pushed along the birth canal, with the vagina stretching to allow the head squeeze downwards
According to The New Scientist the
technique was recently used by doctors at Imperial College London to
study unborn twins.
The researchers were investigating the common
complication of twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome when one baby receive
too much blood while the other gets too little.
Using powerful magnets, MRI creates a strong field to make some atoms in the body detectable to radio waves.
The data can be used to create a
cross-section of the patient, which provides detailed depiction of soft
tissue and bone structure.
scans are considered safer than X-rays but are disliked by patients to
the loud buzzing noise made by the scanner as it processes images.
To protect the participants during the historic birth, the mother wore earmuffs to block out the noise and the machine was switched off when the amniotic sack surrounding the baby opened, to prevent the newborn's hearing being affected.
The Berlin hospital developed a special 'open' MRI scanner for the birth