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3D images Show how a baby's head is squooshed during birth



Feel sorry for mothers. Not only is the cost of having a child simply blackmailing, but the human pelvis is not very well adapted to the actual process of giving birth to large newborns.

One way in which people have evolved to get around this narrow-profile, big-head dilemma is with a soft, castable skull that melts and hardens at any point in time between seven and 18 months. This squishy skull can shapeshift under pressure so it can squeeze through the birth canal.

Now, researchers have used 3D scanning to show how the fetal brain changes during the delivery process. The results have been published in the newspaper PLOS ONE.

Twenty-seven pregnant women were scanned with an MRI between 36 and 39 weeks of gestation. Seven of these women were then scanned again, no more than 1

0 minutes before they were born. The resulting images show varying degrees of what they call "fetal head shape", which reveals clear differences between the first and second set of images. While none of the 27 images in the first set showed overlapping fetal structures, all made seven in the second set – showing how the brain shape changes during the work to fit through the birth canal.

3D scans of the fetus before work (purple: A, C, E) and during the second phase of the workforce (orange: in B, D, F). Credit: Ami et al. 2019, Plos One

Shortly after birth, this "cranial deformity" was no longer visible in five of the seven children. The parameters of their skull were "identical" to what they had been in the womb.

In the case of the three newborns with the most noticeable formation of the skull (and the most severe brainform deformations), two of the c-section were born and one was born by natural birth.

3D-finite element construction of the crane legs prior to work (A, C, E) and during the second phase of work (B, D, F) of a fetus. Credit: Ami et al. 2019, Plos One

In 2017, photographer Kayla Reeder captured some incredible images of a baby's Graham, whose side position resulted in extreme casting of the skull. But don't worry – in this case, the child's head formed a normal shape, emphasizing how complex (and flexible) the human body really is.


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