November 27, 2013By Lance Baily

3D Virtual Birth Simulator Predicts Complications

Wired UK recently reported on a virtual 3d birth simulator that uses mother and baby’s measurements for bespoke predictions. The software has application for both healthcare professionals in practice to predict complications, and also for training new healthcare learners.


“Computer scientists have developed a virtual 3D birth simulator that allows doctors and midwives to generate scenarios tailored to individual women that might be at risk of dangerous deliveries. 

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Today, training tends to be facilitated with a static model or mannequin featuring the pelvis and foetus. In 2011 Lyon’s Laboratoire Ampère introduced a robot simulator called BirthSIM, but that was specifically designed to train doctors in using forceps through the use of real-time 3D imaging and electromagnetic sensors.

The new virtual tool, designed by a team at the University of East Anglia headed up by Rudy Lapeer, gives doctors the ability to input the exact measurements of a woman’s pelvis and those of her foetus to simulate the potential trajectory down the birth canal.

During birth there are seven cardinal movements, but our simulator doesn’t make assumptions of those seven — it tries to simulate birth as it happens in reality. Lapeer worked closely with obstetricians over the course of the technology’s two-year research grant, period which was funded by the NHS, and he says they are already impressed by it. It’s envisioned as a training tool for when instrumental deliveries or vacuum extraction could potentially be necessary — “that’s difficult to teach really. You can use a dummy model, but the problem with them is they are one measure for all and based on average sizes and average baby sizes.”

You can learn more about the BirthSim at Wired UK!

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