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What happens to a baby's head during childbirth?

Get the latest from TODAY May 17, 2019, 4:56 PM UTC/ Source: NBC News By Erika Edwards It's a question that came to many, if not all, pregnant women before going through with a vaginal delivery &#821 1; how does the size of a cantaloupe fit through and opening the size of a lemon? That lemon, of course, is the birth canal which is known to expand in size to accommodate a baby's head. And anyone who has seen a newborn knows the baby's head shifts into something best described as a cone, before returning to its normal shape. We've never seen how that actually happens in real time – during labor – until now. A woman gives birth to an MRI machine so doctors could capture images of how baby's head changes shape during delivery. Courtesy of Dr. Olivier Ami Doctors at the University Hospital Center, in Clermont-Ferrand, France, captured MRI images in 3D of seven babies as they were making their way through the birth canal. That meant seven brave women had an inside MRI machine. The images show exactly how parts of the infants' skulls overlap so the heads can be delivered vaginally. During this process, the brain is also compressed. Doctors were surprised at how much the brain was impacted. "When we showed the fetal head changing shape, we discovered that we had underestimated a lot of the brain compression during birth," Dr. Olivier Ami, who lead the new study, said. The photo on the left…

Get the latest from TODAY

/ Source: NBC News

By Erika Edwards

It’s a question that came to many, if not all, pregnant women before going through with a vaginal delivery &#821

1; how does the size of a cantaloupe fit through and opening the size of a lemon?

That lemon, of course, is the birth canal which is known to expand in size to accommodate a baby’s head. And anyone who has seen a newborn knows the baby’s head shifts into something best described as a cone, before returning to its normal shape.

We’ve never seen how that actually happens in real time – during labor – until now.

A woman gives birth to an MRI machine so doctors could capture images of how baby’s head changes shape during delivery. Courtesy of Dr. Olivier Ami

Doctors at the University Hospital Center, in Clermont-Ferrand, France, captured MRI images in 3D of seven babies as they were making their way through the birth canal. That meant seven brave women had an inside MRI machine.

The images show exactly how parts of the infants’ skulls overlap so the heads can be delivered vaginally. During this process, the brain is also compressed.

Doctors were surprised at how much the brain was impacted. “When we showed the fetal head changing shape, we discovered that we had underestimated a lot of the brain compression during birth,” Dr. Olivier Ami, who lead the new study, said.

The photo on the left is the baby’s head while in utero; the image on the right is taken during the second stage of labor, when the fetus is moving into the birth canal. Courtesy of Dr. Olivier Ami – CHU Clermont Ferrand, France

It may sound medieval – and actually, it is. Babies have been born this way successfully since the beginning of humankind. And the vast majority of time, infants can endure this type of trauma without any issue.

But rarely, problems do occur. And that’s what the French obstetrics team focused on. “Sometimes there are brain hemorrhages, and we don’t know where (they) are coming from,” Ami said.

“When that happens, the baby can have long-term brain development issues, like cerebral palsy,” explained Dr. The question is which babies’ heads will have trouble molding if they leave the uterus and enter the birth canal?

A different view provided by the study. Courtesy Dr. Olivier Ami – CHU Clermont Ferrand, France

“We have no clues before delivery,” Aly said. “We don’t know who will have this problem. We don’t know how to avoid it.”

Doctors routinely monitor fetal heartbeats for signs of distress during a woman’s labor, and perform emergency cessarean sections if necessary. But the French research team’s goal is to develop software that would be predictable which babies are more susceptible to these complications before labor starts. . Then doctors could schedule a C-section ahead of time, completely avoiding the problem.

Physicians stress that vaginal deliveries are overwhelmingly safe, and confer multiple health benefits, like exposing the babies to healthy bacteria that boost their immune systems.

will have trouble during the labor process.

“We hope in the very near future, we will be able to counsel the women correctly, inform them, and choose the best delivery mode,” Ami customs NBC News.

” We would like to have more information to give women. “

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