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24th May 2021

Women give birth in MRI to show baby’s head change shape in labour

Laura Cunningham

Wow! No wonder our little ones often look at little unusual at first.

In an effort to determine why some babies’ heads have trouble molding during birth, scientists asked a group of brain women to labour in an MRI machine.

The issue can cause long-term brain development issues, so these incredible mothers sacrificed whatever comfort they may have had to help solve medical mystery.

Fetal Head Molding us the process whereby a baby’s head changes shape during delivery, leaving many with temporarily elongated heads. This is first time we’ve been able to see it in real-time using 3D MRI images.

The study took place at University Hospital Center in Clermont-Ferrand in France. Seven women signed up, but two required emergency c-sections meaning that five women aged between 23 and 34  ended up being test subjects.

The hope of the trial is that doctors can determine before delivery which babies’ heads might have trouble molding during the birth process. When that happens, a baby can have long-term brain development issues, like cerebral palsy. The finding of this study will help doctors rule out vaginal birth in advance because of this risk.

The results were not only fascinating to see, but also medically surprising according to Dr. Olivier Ami. “We were surprised to see how much the brain was impacted during delivery. “When we showed the fetal head changing shape, we discovered that we had underestimated a lot of the brain compression during birth.”

Hats off to the incredible women involved.