The hospital at which I'm planning to have the baby is a research hospital and I've been asked to take part in a few studies looking at how the hospital can improve services etc for pregnant women. By far the most interesting was a recent research study looking into using MRI images in pregnancies. They're researching MRI as an additional scan for problematic pregnancies and as part of the study will look at the placenta too and how nutrients pass between the mother, placenta and baby. I hadn't given it much thought but apparently there's not very much known about the placenta so this will help towards answering questions that have been posed. All very interesting stuff! I was selected for having what's considered to be a normal pregnancy so they have comparison evidence. Although there were no direct benefits for me or the baby in taking part in the study I did get to keep a collection of the best images from the scan which arrived in the post the other day.
Although I've had MRI scans for various things in the past I've never seen the images that were produced. The Research Doctor actually took us through each image after the scan and both Mr C and I were totally blown away by the detail. The differences between MRI and ultrasound is obviously vast and it is never intended that MRI would replace ultrasound since the cost is so great. But there are likely to be pregnancies where MRI is crucial since ultrasound cannot give the whole picture, particularly in relation to the placenta.
As I said the detail is amazing and I just have to share one or two of the best images:
The first one is taking a vertical slice of me from a face on position and you can clearly see the baby in a head down position.
The next one is a bit more obvious and is a vertical slice from a side on perspective. I must admit I do find it a bit freaky looking at my spine and altogether squashed internal organs. A friend said it reminded him of the futuristic HR Giger artwork and I find that I do agree with him! For me the black and white imagery together with the spinal column imagery is very Giger-like.
It does make you wonder how my organs manage to re-arrange themselves back into the right position after the baby is born but I guess nature finds its way!
So - not a very Christmassy post but altogether very interesting (or so I hope!) and just over 1 week left to go!