From 4-D Ultrasound Imagery to Revolutionary In Utero Surgery, Advanced Technology Takes You Into the Womb
From the moment of conception, every human embryo embarks on an incredible nine-month odyssey of development fraught with uncertainty.
Now, cutting-edge technology makes it possible to open a window into the hidden world of the fetus and explore each trimester in amazing new detail.
National Geographic Channel (NGC) has presented "In the Womb," a two-hour special that uses the latest advances in technology to take viewers on the incredible adventure of a developing new life.
Your Developing Baby: Video Clips
http://www.yourdevelopingbaby.com/sampleChapters/4.htm (12 weeks)
http://www.yourdevelopingbaby.com/sampleChapters/7.htm (various ages)
Revolutionary 3-D and 4-D ultrasound imagery sheds light on the delicate, dark world of a fetus. Viewers will also have the chance to witness a rare fetoscope operation performed in the hope of correcting life-threatening complications before birth.
While 2-D black-and-white ultrasound images have become commonplace, their crude resolution and technical limitations offer only partial insight into the developing fetus.
But space-age advancements in computer technology permit the creation of 3-D scans that transform those same shadow images into life-like pictures of the developing fetus.
"In the Womb" features even more remarkable 4-D technology that adds the element of time to those 3-D pictures to produce action sequences of the fetus in real time.
"In the Womb" uses 4-D images to take an in-depth look into a mysterious world and chart unprecedented details throughout the stages of pregnancy. Witness the journey's beginning, as the embryo travels down the fallopian tube and implants itself into the uterine wall. Go inside the uterus as the first nerve cells are created, and return again a few weeks later to see how the spinal cord and brain have developed.
At end of the first trimester, see startling sequences of the fetus
exhibiting reflex movements, which will be critical to its future survival
in the outside world.
The last trimester explores the fetus's ability to hear loud noises and deep tones through the fluids of the body, and even experience REM sleep.
At week 26, witness a second fetus diagnosed with a congenital diaphragmatic hernia, a rare and potentially fatal defect that forms a hole in the diaphragm of the fetus.
If left untreated, the growing abdominal organs will push up through the hole into the chest cavity and limit the development of the lungs. A newborn usually dies from this condition a day or two after birth because it cannot breathe properly.
But through the miracle of science, a highly skilled surgeon is able to
repair the problem by performing an operation in utero. Watch the delicate lifesaving operation firsthand from inside the womb as a fetoscope, specially fitted with a high-definition mini-camera, is inserted through an incision in the mother's stomach.
Using 2-D ultrasound to guide him, the doctor inserts the fetoscope through the womb, into the tiny mouth of the fetus and down the windpipe. Once inside the windpipe or trachea, see a small balloon inflate at the end of the fetoscope.
Without harming the fetus, since the lungs are not used to breathe until after birth, the balloon is left to block the hole in the trachea and force the intestines back down into the abdomen. Two months later, the balloon is removed and a full term baby is delivered in the ninth month.
Viewers can also experience the world outside the fetus from a belly-eye view when the mother is fitted with a BUMPCAM. Watch from this vantage point to learn how the fetus responds to music playing or to nursery rhymes read aloud by its mother or father.
Taking you from conception to the moment of birth, "In the Womb" sheds light on a delicate but dark place and takes viewers right into the fragile and mysterious world of pregnancy. The DVD is available from National Geographic.
[Jan. 12 /PRNewswire; 23 Feb 05, Pro-Life E-News]