For expectant parents nothing is more exciting than seeing your little one for the first time. Ultrasound scans, usually timed around 12 and 20 weeks as the baby develops, might reveal a wave, or a tell-tale nose. They also help midwives to check everything is developing well. In the future, though, the first sight of your baby might be in virtual reality. Here MRI helps to create a detailed 3D model of a developing foetus. The technology is nothing new, routinely it often helps to diagnose problems. But examining a 3D image on a flat 2D screen is a bit of a missed opportunity. Now researchers are testing ways to use virtual reality headsets instead, and to put parents face-to-face with their babies. For now though, it’s back to traditional ultrasound and the nervous wait to see the grainy flicker of a beating heart.
Written by John Ankers
BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences the website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biomedicine. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.