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German researchers capture first birth on open MRI

Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation - Wed, 8 Dec 2010 16:24 GMT
Author: (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2010. Click For Restrictions.
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* Images offer insight into potential problems

BERLIN, Dec 8 (Reuters) - Doctors in Germany have captured a live birth by open MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) for the first time, offering insight into potential pregnancy complications, Berlin's Charite hospital said on Wednesday.

"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," Dr. Christian Bamberg, a physician on the research team, told Reuters.

A stalled birth often results in a Caesarean delivery, which carries risks to mother and baby. One in three births in Germany are delivered by Caesarean, government statistics show.

The MRI images allow the team of researchers to observe the first stage of labour in three dimensions, showing detailed visuals where previous scans were either too poor in quality or too dangerous for the mother and foetus, Bamberg said.

"The images are spectacular," Bamberg said. "They show which movements the foetus makes in the birth canal, how its bones move and how its head changes shape during birth."

The birth was on Nov. 20 and the scan lasted one hour. (Reporting by Eric Kelsey; editing by Janet Lawrence)

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