Technology Lets Parents 'Hold' Unborn Baby

Filed under: In The News, Pregnancy Health

ultrasound

New technology takes ultrasound imaging to the next level. Image: sxc.hu

Since the 1980's, the use of ultrasound technology has become commonplace in the obstetrician's office. Using sound waves to create an image, the information doesn't just help doctors monitor fetal development, it also gives parents a sneak peek at their unborn child. For most parents, that fuzzy black and white image is something of a miracle itself and often stored away as a treasured keepsake.

As intimate as that look into the womb may be, there is now a way to make it even more so. Thanks to a student at Royal College of Art in the UK, parents-to-be can now touch and hold a life-sized replica of their unborn baby.

Using technology invented by PhD student Jorge Lopes, plastic models are created using ultrasound data to "print" 3-dimensional images. "It's amazing to see the faces of the mothers. They can see the full scale of their baby, really understand the size of it," says Dr. Lopes.
But having a 3-D model of an unborn baby could be more than just a fun pregnancy souvenir to show off to friends and family. Some doctors see an application in which these models could be used to help mothers, especially blind mothers, bond with their unborn child. Others might use them to emotionally prepare parents for a baby with deformities or other medical issues.

While there may be many legitimate reasons to have a plastic model made of your unborn baby, I am certain many parents would do it just for the cool factor. It is cool, right? Or is it creepy? Honestly, after looking at photos of some actual models I cannot decide.

This technology is still being tested and is probably a long way off from being widely available. But if it was available to you today, would you do it?

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.