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Pregnant Women Could Soon Take A 3-D Tour Through Their Own Birth Canal

This “patient-specific” virtual birthing simulator, which takes into account a mother’s body shape and the baby’s positioning, will help doctors prepare for high-risk pregnancies.

Pregnant Women Could Soon Take A 3-D Tour Through Their Own Birth Canal
[Image via Shutterstock]

During pregnancy, women usually have deal with all manner of strangers getting up in their body parts. Now, with new software that takes the idea of personalized medicine to the extreme, computer scientists are making it easy for this to happen through a virtual 3-D simulator of birth that’s specific to the shape of their pelvis and uterus.

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People who use the software, presumably doctors and midwives, will be able to enter anatomical data from the patient, like the shape and size of the mother’s pelvis, as well as the baby’s head and torso. In creating an interactive model and 3-D graphics, it will also take into account ultrasound data, the likely force from the mother pushing during labor, and even the shape of the midwife’s hands, which interact with the baby’s head.


“By doing this you will be able to set different bespoke scenarios for both the mother and baby,” wrote computer scientist Rudy Lapeer from the University of East Anglia, who presented the project at a health conference in Romania last week.

Their aim isn’t to use this level of detail for all pregnancies, but rather on a case-by-case basis for high-risk births. A doctor could simulate a birth and see, for example, where a baby’s shoulders might get stuck and if a Caesarean section might be needed.

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About the author

Jessica Leber is a staff editor and writer for Fast Company's Co.Exist. Previously, she was a business reporter for MIT’s Technology Review and an environmental reporter at ClimateWire

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