Birth in an MRI

Babies are born in all kinds of settings, but a 24-year-old woman in Berlin chose to have her third child in December of 2010 inside a magnetic resonance imaging device at the Charite University Hospital in the German capital.

Researchers at the hospital last month released a brief segment of the seven sequences of real-time images they made of the birth inside a specially constructed open MRI, shown in the photo below. The video accompanied the publication of their article about the event in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

A midwife, an obstetrician, a neonatologist and an anesthetist were in the magnet room while the MRI was on. The hospital's delivery unit was a short distance away on the same floor. Mom and baby left the hospital two days after participating in this historic birth.

The view of the baby's journey into the world from inside the birth canal will provide researchers with valuable insight into the mechanics of this amazing passage, the authors said.

Birth in an MRI

The mother was just shy of 38 weeks gestation, fully dilated and experiencing regular contractions. She received an epidural before entering the MRI, where she remained for less than an hour, according to the article.

One additional "study" was taken of the mother's body after birth, "to evaluate the third stage of labor with regard to placental separation and uterus involution," the authors wrote.

The researchers, all affiliated with Charite, were concerned about subjecting a brand-new baby to the loud noise of the machine without the "maternal soft tissue" padding, so they turned the MRI off just at birth.

Images Christian Bamberg / American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology

A new look for Birth Story

Regular readers of Birth Story may be surprised to see that its look has changed. I was surprised, too.

Updating to the latest edition of WordPress stripped off the custom features that used to be here. I had been merrily backing up my site to my computer. I had not realized that, for the year I have had Mac OS X Lion software, the backups were not worth the virtual space they were occupying.

I have gleaned from various forums that Apple Inc. apparently has decided that material that comes from an FTP server is not sufficiently secure to allow in . Or something. I regret to say that bit got right past me.

It looks like there are some easy fixes to try, you know, before your site comes down. (And now here comes OS X Mountain Lion.)

Anyway, this is 2011, a WordPress default theme that was hanging around on my computer. It turns out I like the lighter look, and now I'm thinking of other things I might like to try.

The truth is, I'm practically giddy that the wreckage wasn't worse — I lost my whole site in a past upgrade, when thankfully I had a functional backup — and I'm grateful that a few little fixes were all I had to do. So I'm backing up to the cloud now, which of course is in the news for faltering during the storms this past weekend.

Nothing is certain. If you're lucky, everything turns out all right in the end.