You might not expect this kind of childbirth video at regular hospitals. In fact, the mechanism of labor and how the body reacts during the process has been puzzling scientists for ages now. Sure, medical knowledge about birth is extremely extensive, but scientists in Berlin managed to pull a medical first. They recorded the first MRI video of a woman giving birth.
Using a cinematic MRI, scientists with the Berlin’s Charité University Hospital have a video record of a woman giving birth, showing images from within the body during the process. It goes without saying it is not the kind of childbirth video you’d expect. The MRI video captured anatomical details of the childbirth process that could lead to better delivery practices.
The German scientists published a study based on their MRI video of childbirth in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. “Knowledge about the mechanism of labor is based on assumptions and radiographic studies performed decades ago” they said. Their research has been available for months now, but it is for the first time that the public gets the chance to see the video showing what giving birth looks like from the inside.
The video is two years old and shows the final 45 minutes of the delivery, as the mother gives the final push. The mother had to wear headphones during the process, because although the MRI is safe both for the mom and baby, it makes a lot of noise.
Two years ago, Dr. Christian Bamberg, lead researcher, told Reuters “the main reasons for the research are to answer the question of why a birth may stall and to visually capture the birthing process and any complications”.
Using Dr. Bamberg’s own words, “the images are spectacular”. He said the video shows “which movements the fetus makes in the birth canal, how its bones move and how its head changes shape during birth”.
One thing is sure: for moms about to deliver, watching the MRI video of how childbirth looks from the inside is a great way of preparing for the experience. Dr. Marjorie Greenfield with the general obstetrics and gynecology department at Cleveland’s University Hospitals Case Medical Center, told ABC News: “For the vast majority of women, letting nature take its course is a pretty good way to give birth….if this helps us learn ways to avoid Cesarean section and have babies come out vaginally, there could be some benefit”.