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 programme will take into account factors such as the shape of the motherâ€™s body and the positioning of the baby to provide patient-specific birth predictions.
The research will be presented at the International Conference on E-Health and Bioengineering in Romania today.
Dr Rudy Lapeer from UEAâ€™s school of Computing Sciences is leading the project. He said: â€œWe 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 labour.
â€œUsers will be able to input key anatomical data â€“ such as the size and shape of the motherâ€™s pelvis, and the babyâ€™s head and torso. By doing this you will be able to set different bespoke scenarios for both the mother and baby.â€
The simulation software will see ultra-sound data used to re-create a geometric model of a babyâ€™s skull and body in 3D graphics as well as the motherâ€™s body and pelvis. Programmers are also taking into account the force from the mother pushing during labour and are even modelling a â€˜virtualâ€™ midwifeâ€™s hands which can interact with the babyâ€™s head.
â€œBecause this programme 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 babyâ€™s shoulders will get stuck.
â€œWe hope that this could help to avoid complicated births altogether by guiding people in the medical profession to advise on caesarean sections where necessary.â€
â€˜Towards a Forward Engineered Simulation of the Cardinal Movements of Human Childbirthâ€™ by Zelimkhan Gerikhanov, Vilius Audinis and Rudy Lapeer will be presented at the 4th IEEE International Conference on E-Health and Bioengineering on November 22, 2013.
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