Incredible 3D scan shows how a baby's head changes shape during birth
The human body - truly amazing.
Everybody is totally and unequivocally aware of the significant changes the female body makes before and during birthing an infant.
The pelvis softens, the uterus enlarges, and the cervix dilates far beyond its regular size to allow for the passing of a watermelon sized object - the baby.
But what about the changes that the child undergoes itself?
A baby's skull is a fairly round object, and yet it often passes through the birth canal with a certain amount of ease - or at least enough to ensure that it can actually physically come out.
And yet, a baby's head does change shape during birth too. Quite considerably, in fact.
A new study, conducted by doctors in University Hospital Centre, in Clermont-Ferrand, France, required a selection of women to give birth while inside of an MRI machine.
The incredible images showed how the infant's skull overlaps during birth so the head can be delivered vaginally. The child's brain is also compressed during this time.
Study lead Dr. Olivier Ami told NBC News:
"When we showed the fetal head changing shape, we discovered that we had underestimated a lot of the brain compression during birth.
"Sometimes there are brain hemorrhages, and we don’t know where (they) are coming from."
Dr. Hany Aly said that the team hopes the research will eventually be able to determine what babies are going to have trouble during delivery ahead of time.
He said that right now there is no way to know, but that in the future, the technology may exist to help both expectant mothers and new babies.
"We hope in the very near future, we will be able to counsel the women correctly, inform them, and choose the best delivery mode," he said.
"We would like to have more information to give women."
Images via Plos One.