The changes in the baby’s head during labor: a new study
Magnetic resonance imaging showed how to deform the skull of a newborn.
17 may 2019 16:03
The skull is not one, but eight bones; in adults they are firmly fused, and the newborn “seams” between them are plastic – this flexible “membrane” of connective tissue called fontanelles. Thanks to them, the segments of the skull can overlap each other, facilitating the passage of the fetus through the birth canal.
The degree of deformation depends on the shape of the birth canal, the head size of child and strength of tissues. For 18 months since the birth of the fontanelles gradually ossify.
A group of French scientists from the University centre of Clermont-Ferrand and their American colleagues decided to measure the degree of deformation of the skull of infants. The study involved 27 mothers aged 21 to 39 years: they had MRI scan at 36-39 weeks of pregnancy. Seven of this number were also the scanning during the second stage of labor, when the cervix is fully open and starts the exit of the fetus. All women were primipara and had no clearly defined health problems.
The scan was finished 10 minutes before the appearance of the baby born. Five children came naturally, however in two cases the decision was made to perform a caesarean section. Fixing each step changes the shape of the skull and creating a computer model, the scientists also got a picture of how changes shape the brain, adapting to “new” dimensions of the surrounding shell.
Three-dimensional reconstruction of MRI of the fetal brain before birth (A, C, E) and during second stage of labor (B, D, F).
In all cases, the greatest dynamics of deformation showed a fronto-occipital diameter; most of the skull is deformed, in particular in children those patients who are in the process of delivery required cesarean section. The third largest measure skull deformation recorded in the heaviest kid (4525 g). For the first time after the birth of a distorted form of the skull was observed in them a little longer than the other four children.
In conclusion, the authors say that their study helped to determine how strong the stress the body is exposed to the newborn. On the basis of the information received by one of the participants of scientific work, the French physician Olivier AMI (Ami Olivier) is going to create software for MRI, which would allow to predict complications in childbirth.
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