MRI birth

Doctors at a Berlin hospital captured live MRI images of a birth.

Doctors at a Berlin hospital have made a medical breakthrough after capturing live MRI images of the miracle of birth. The pictures, taken after a German mother agreed to give birth inside a magnetic-resonance imaging machine, could provide valuable new insights into the birthing process and save lives in the future.


Gynecologist Ernst Beinder at Berlin’s Charité Hospital said the birth proceeded normally and the machine filmed all the movements and processes that went on inside the womb.They were even able to use the machine to monitor the baby’s heart beat.

‘We can now see all the details we previously could only study with probes,’ he said.

‘These images are fascinating and proved yet again that every birth is a small miracle,’ said Beinder.

The hospital said several expectant mothers had volunteered to participate in the experiment and five more births would be imaged with an MRI machine.

While most MRI machines are tube-shaped, the Charité team developed a special ‘open’ scanner which provided the necessary room for midwives and the mother during the birth

The creation of the live MRI images of a birth could prove vital in understanding complications during the birthing process and the need for around 15 per cent of women to have a Caesarian section due to the baby not moving sufficiently into the birth canal.

The research team at Charité Hospital planned the experiment for two years before this week’s successful culmination.

The team included Dr Christan Bamberg, radiologist Dr Ulf Teichgraber and project manager Felix Guttler.

Using powerful magnets, MRI creates a strong field to make some atoms in the body detectable to radio waves.

The data can be used to create a cross-section of the patient, which provides detailed depiction of soft tissue and bone structure.

MRI scans are considered safer than X-rays but are disliked by patients to the loud buzzing noise made by the scanner as it processes images.

To protect the participants during this week’s historic birth, the mother wore earmuffs to block out the noise while the machine was switched off when the amniotic sack surrounding the baby opened, to prevent the newborn’s hearing being affected.

Both mother and baby are said to be healthy and doing well.

Via Daily Mail