Researchers Pioneer First Patient-Specific 3-D Virtual Birth Simulator


Computer scientists have revealed that they are developing a virtual birthing simulator that will help doctors and midwives prepare for unusual or dangerous births.

Computer scientists from the University of East Anglia are working to create a virtual birthing simulator that will help doctors and midwives prepare for unusual or dangerous births.

The new software will take account for factors such as the shape of the mother's body and the positioning of the baby to provide patient-specific birth predictions.

Dr. Rudy Lapeer from University of East Anglia's School of Computing Sciences is leading the project. "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 labor,” he said.

"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," Dr. Lapeer explained.

The simulation software will use ultrasound data to re-create a geometric model of a baby's skull and body in 3D graphics, as well as the mother's body and pelvis. Programmers are also taking into account the force from the mother pushing during labor and are even modeling a “virtual” midwife's hands, which can interact with the baby's head.

"Because this program 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 cesarean sections where necessary."

This new software was presented November 22, 2013, at the 4th IEEE International Conference on E-Health and Bioengineering, held in Iasi, Romania.

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