Do you know anyone who’s had a baby? At some point in her pregnancy, she probably had an ultrasound, a medical test that enables doctors to detect health problems and birth defects. It also gives mothers a chance to get the first snapshots of their new baby.
Cross-Sections for Clarity
Traditional 2D ultrasounds can be difficult to read; every baby looks the same on them. Sometimes, the technician must add labels to the display to help parents see where their baby’s head is and where the feet are. Newer ultrasound machines use cross-sections to create 3D and 4D ultrasounds. To create a 3D ultrasound, a computer uses imaging software to compile all the “flat” images of the baby into a three-dimensional picture. 4D ultrasounds rely on even faster computers and can show parents the baby’s movements in real time.
Doctors use 3D and 4D ultrasounds to check for heart defects, cleft palates, and spinal defects. Currently, some medical centers can perform prenatal surgeries to treat these conditions. This means that surgeons can operate while a baby is still inside his or her mother. In the future, these surgeries may become more common, enabling doctors to prevent birth defects.
See for yourself: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hwKXYIiUUmo
Watch the following videos for a look inside the womb and for more examples of prenatal surgeries.