A new type of MRI scan soon could let expecting parents see their unborn babies in vivid detail like never before.
The scans provide more detailed images that allow people to see unborn babies wiggling, swallowing and even tugging on their umbilical cords, according to the report. It also allows doctors to see unborn babies’ organs, including their heart and heartbeat, in more detail, the report states.
Research fellow Dr. David Lloyd, who worked on the project, said fetal imaging is difficult because babies in the womb are so small.
“The fetal heartbeat, for example, with all of its tiny chambers and valves, is only about 15mm long: less than the size of a penny,” Lloyd said. “Ultrasound technology … is actually fairly good at visualizing these tiny structures.”
However, he said ultrasound imaging has limitations, especially when doctors are trying to see the unborn baby’s organs.
“MRI, which uses a strong magnetic field and radio waves to produce images, isn’t so limited,” Lloyd said. “It can see the structures inside the body regardless of whether there’s bone, muscle or fat in the way …”
A short video, created by the iFIND project, shows a 24-second scan of a 20-week-old baby and exactly what they get up to while in utero.
The ensuing footage is so detailed that you can clearly see the tot fiddling with the umbilical cord, turning its neck and stretching out in the womb.
The scan, taken of an anonymous mother during trials, ends with the soon-to-be-born kicking its mum, which sends ripples out to her tummy.
Using algorithms, magnetic fields and radio waves, the new-style scan creates extra-high quality moving footage. The entire womb is captured so parents – and doctors – have a really clear idea of what exactly baby is up to.
The research team said the new scan technology is safe for mom and baby. They said they hope to continue developing the technology and eventually make it available world-wide.
Researchers said the new MRI scan could help doctors detect health problems in unborn babies. From a pro-life perspective, it also could give families hope and encouragement when they see their unborn baby in detail. Ultrasound imaging already is an amazing tool used to help people see the value and humanity of babies in the womb. In many cases, these images have helped save babies from abortion.
Fay and Michael Murrish chose life for their unborn daughter, Chanel, after seeing her give a thumbs up via ultrasound. Doctors diagnosed their unborn daughter with a life-threatening heart condition, but her tiny thumbs-up gave her parents the encouragement they needed to reject abortion.
“There was no way I could have a termination,” her mother told the Mirror. “I know she wanted to live because she was giving a huge thumbs-up at her scan.”