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Times of India
30 November 2011
By Kounteya Sinha

New Software Can Foretell Possibility Of Difficult Labour For Mom

Doctors will be able to predict the problems a woman might face during childbirth. A newly–developed computer software combined with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of a fetus will help physicians better assess a woman's potential for a difficult childbirth.

Birth Pangs Can Be Predicted

The software, PREDIBIRTH, uses 3–D reconstructed images of the mother's pelvis and the fetus with 72 possible trajectories of the baby's head through the birth canal. Based on these simulations, the programme scores a mother's likelihood of normal birth.

Results of the study were presented here on Tuesday at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA). Researchers hope to reduce emergency Caesarean section deliveries. Such deliveries, largely unnecessary, are on the rise. Nearly one in every two births in China, two in five in Thailand and Vietnam and one in five in India are delivered by C–section.

Because a woman's birth canal is curved and not much wider than a fetus' head, a baby must move through the canal in a specific sequence of manoeuvers. A failure, such as a head turned the wrong way at the wrong time, can lead to dystocia, or difficult labour.

"We have computer–simulated childbirth to identify potential problems," said Olivier Ami, an obstetrician at Antoine Béclères Hospital in Université Paris Sud, France. "An emergency C–section has six to seven times more morbidity and mortality than a planned C–section," he said. "With this software, the majority of C–sections could be planned rather than emergency, and difficult instrumental extractions might disappear soon."

Chronicle of A Pain Foretold
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