A new brain scan allows doctors and parents to see the actual brain activity of a baby in the womb.
The scan clearly shows the baby moving about, swallowing and it can help identify any late developments in the brain. The new scan is currently being trialled at London's Hammersmith Hospital, in collaboration with the Medical Research Council.
It's hoped that the scans will enable doctors to pick up on brain disorders such as malformations and growth disorders. They can even spot some of the early signs of cerebal palsy and autism, BBC News reports.
The new process is called the High-Quality Magnetic Resonance scan. The technology is available in most other hospitals, but had gone largely unused due to the difficulty in getting a subject to stay completely still during the process. The team behind the new brain scans have worked around this by taking multiple images of the brain, and piecing them together to create a 3D image.
The new process is open to any pregnant women using Hammersmith Hospital, which is great for the study as it attracts such a high number of participants. It also helps doctors identify how a baby's brain develops, both abnormally and normally.
Whilst this may cause extra angst for some parents, for others it can be a lovely image to add to their collection of photos. For some parents who have been through the death of their baby, this can act as a small comfort too.
One mother, Sian who had already been through six miscarriages, found the process very reassuring in knowing her son was healthy and safe.
Would you try this scan? Do you think the scan should be available nationwide?
BBC News: Source