New 3D Simulator Aims to Simulate Our Labor and Delivery, But Can We Trust It?

3D Simulator Shows What's Going on During Labor in Real TimeWhile I was reading the Sunday papers on my iPhone yesterday (the only paper I read is my local one), I came across an absolutely fascinating story on the Huffington Post about a new technology breakthrough that could potentially change what happens in the delivery room. At first I was thinking this is the coolest invention just about ever. But as I read more, I started to get a bit leery.

I’m all for technological advances, especially when they have to do with pregnancy. After all, without assisted reproductive technologies, I don’t know if I’d ever be able to have a baby. But I guess with all such things, it’s not necessarily all good.

The latest invention is a 3D simulator for labor that shows what’s happening during a woman’s delivery. The potential for this new imaging technology is incredible. Countless women who are at risk of dangerous births could — and likely will — benefit from the simulator. The device “is designed to be patient-specific,” according to the HuffPo article. That means it will actually simulate the woman’s anatomy.

Wild, right?

Imagine being pregnant, and something just isn’t right. The 3D simulator will scan your body’s shape, and the position (and size) of your baby. From there, the device will simulate an unfamiliar or possibly dangerous birth scenario. Doing so allows doctors to better prepare for delivery, and could help predict possible red flags.

Sounds pretty awesome, yes? I kind of think so, too. But …

What if doctors become to rely on this simulator? What if it’s wrong? What if your delivery is planned around the results of the simulator and your delivery goes completely differently? Surely, we can’t expect a machine to be able to totally and accurately predict your labor.

And we shouldn’t.

Luckily, we’re not.

The 3D simulator — at the time the article was written — is only capable of simulating three of the seven typical movements performed by a baby during labor. And it’s not currently being used during actual births, which is probably a good thing — though the researchers behind the simulator have high hopes for it in the future, saying, “Ultimately, imaging technology will enable doctors to run the birth simulator during the birth itself. That kind of ‘augmented reality’ would allow doctors to see how the baby is positioned, and adapt the delivery procedures accordingly. That technology is probably at least a decade away… but ultimately, we will get there.”

 ::What do you think about this latest technology? Would you use it for your delivery?::

Read the whole story from its source at Huffington Post!
Photo Credit: Lisa Nail Photography via Flickr Creative Commons

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