MRI scan during labour reveals how the baby's skull and brain changes shape
Putting it mildly, a woman in labour has a lot on her mind. So spare a thought for several women who had MRI scans just before childbirth, to see the effects on baby’s brain. It’s well known that foetal skull bones reshape in the last stages of delivery – a temporary rearrangement to help baby navigate mum’s cervix and avoid obstruction or labour dystocia. Yet in these computer models, generated from MRI scans of babies before labour (top row) and just before pushing (bottom row), their brains have changed shape too, moulding to the skull changes as mother and baby get ready. All these children were born healthy, yet haemorrhages occur in up to 43% of vaginal deliveries. Scientists are wondering if MRI could be a useful tool to help parents and medical staff decide upon alternatives, like caesarean section, based on changes to the brain during these crucial moments.
Written by John Ankers
BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences the website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biomedicine. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.
BPoD is also available in Catalan at www.bpod.cat with translations by the University of Valencia.