From Live Science:
The simulator is the first of its kind to take into account factors such as the shape of the mother’s body, and the shape and position of the baby. It could help doctors and midwives prepare for unusual or dangerous births, according to the researchers in England who developed it.
Hospitals have used models to simulate the birthing process since the 1800s, Lapeer told LiveScience. But whereas most current simulators are based on known scenarios, the new simulator models the physics of childbirth — the basic forces exerted by the cervix, abdominal muscles and the doctor or midwife — so it can simulate an unfamiliar birth scenario.
My child was two weeks late. Scratch that – both of my children were two weeks late. The first arrived via emergency c-section which was traumatic enough for me to really try for a vaginal birth the second time around.
There were chiropractic appointments and headstands and everything you could imagine involved to try to get the baby into the “optimum position” for birth. None of these things ended up working – and I ended up with another surgery. It would be really amazing to be able to see what was going on in there – to see if the baby was in the right position or anywhere close to birthing. It seems like something like this could eventually save a lot of women from unnecessary surgeries – and get women into surgery faster when necessary for emergencies.
Doctors have concluded that during the vast majority of births, the baby performs a “distinct set of seven movements.” The simulator currently accounts for three of them – but the hope is that the system will succeed in simulating all of them by the end of the year.
Ultimately, imaging technology will enable doctors to run the birth simulator during the birth itself. That kind of “augmented reality” would allow doctors to see how the baby is positioned, and adapt the delivery procedures accordingly. That technology is probably at least a decade away, Lapeer said, “but ultimately, we will get there.”
(photo: Getty Images)