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22 November 2013, 06:25 | Updated: 22 November 2013, 06:28
Scientists at the University of East Anglia have created a 3D simulator that can help prevent difficult births.
The simulator is the first of its kind and takes different factors into account, such as the shape of the mother’s body and the positioning of the baby, to provide predictions on the nature of the birth.
The system uses ultra sound data to create a 3D model of a baby and the mother’s body and pelvis. Programmers are also taking the force from the mother pushing into account and are modelling a ‘virtual’ midwives hands to interact with the baby during birth.
Dr Rudy Lapeer from UEA’s school of Computing Sciences is leading the project. He said:
“We are creating a forward engineered simulation of childbirth using 3D graphics to simulate the sequence of movements as a baby descends through the pelvis during labour.
“Users will be able to input key anatomical data – such as the size and shape of the mother’s pelvis, and the baby’s head and torso. By doing this you will be able to set different bespoke scenarios for both the mother and baby.
“Because this programme is patient-specific, doctors and midwives will be able to see how a birth may take place before it has happened on a case-by-case basis. For example, you would be able to see if a baby’s shoulders will get stuck.
“We hope that this could help to avoid complicated births altogether by guiding people in the medical profession to advise on caesarean sections where necessary.”
The research will be presented at the International Conference on E-Health and Bioengineering in Romania today.