Utilizing VR for prenatal care and childbirth can help in monitoring the health of a fetus and reducing labor pains.
The healthcare industry is constantly working on delivering better services, diagnosing critical disorders earlier, and providing effective treatments. For this purpose, medical institutions utilize immersive technologies such as virtual reality in healthcare to train surgeons, treat serious diseases, and provide patient care. Also, VR is used in Sweden to explain childbirth to future parents. In addition to such applications, medical institutions can use VR for prenatal care and childbirth. Virtual reality can be used to create 3D virtual models of fetuses using MRI and ultrasound data. MRI scans offer multiple high-resolution images of a fetus, which can be used to construct a 3D model. These 3D models can display various anatomical parts such as the womb, placenta, and umbilical cord. In this manner, VR can display a realistic simulation of a fetus inside the womb.
Leveraging VR for Prenatal Care and Childbirth
Medical institutions and parents can leverage VR in the following manner:
Monitoring Fetus Health
Virtual reality headsets can display 3D models of a fetus and enable medical professionals and parents to monitor a fetus’ growth and health. With the help of VR, medical professionals can diagnose medical conditions of a fetus before going through labor. For instance, doctors can assess the fetal airway patency of a fetus. In case doctors find any abnormal mass around the fetal airway, they can utilize VR-generated 3D images to determine the length of the airway and take care of such issues during delivery. Also, doctors can treat certain medical conditions before childbirth to avoid issues during delivery.
Generally, doctors use MRI scans and ultrasound to monitor a fetus’ health and identify abnormalities. However, diagnosing abnormalities using MRI scans can be immensely complicated as the image may have a small size and low resolution. Hence, medical professionals require a reliable approach for diagnosing abnormalities in a fetus. Medical professionals can use VR for prenatal care by identifying abnormalities in a fetus. With the help of VR-powered 3D modeling, doctors can identify abnormalities like tumors, cleft lips, and hernias accurately. Additionally, doctors can diagnose birth defects like esophageal atresia, which can result in choking and eating difficulties. With such diagnoses, doctors can suggest treatments and take necessary measures during childbirth.
Interacting with a Fetus
VR headsets can enable parents and family members to interact with their child. With such VR headsets, parents can also hear the heartbeat of their child using 3D sound and move their head to observe their baby’s anatomy. In this manner, VR can enable parents to view the physical aspects of their child and examine which physical features of the baby are similar to that of their parents. Such interactions with babies can be comforting for mothers and help parents bond with their children.
Reducing Pain During Childbirth
New mothers have explained that childbirth can be one of the most painful experiences ever. Generally, doctors try various techniques to comfort women who are going through labor. However, women still experience an immense amount of pain during the process of childbirth. Doctors can recommend women to wear VR headsets to comfort them during the process of childbirth. VR headsets can display interactive 360-degree environments that can contain different calming scenarios such as beaches, mountains, and sunsets. Such virtual environments can distract women during childbirth and reduce pain.
Lamaze classes can use VR headsets to help women experience labor in an interactive simulation. These simulations can showcase real-world scenarios and help parents learn how to handle complex situations. In this manner, parents can effectively prepare for pregnancy and childbirth. Hence, by leveraging VR for prenatal care and childbirth, parents can safely experience various realistic scenarios of labor and feel a deeper connection with their babies.