Did you count down the days until every ultrasound, eager to get another brief glimpse of your baby? Some pregnant women opt to pay out of pocket for 3-D ultrasounds, which show even more detail. (And which, arguably, can make your womb-mate look more squished and creepy than cute.)
But for a truly next-level look at your little one, there's a new scan technology being developed by the iFIND project, a team of international researchers from England, Italy and the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. Channel Mum, a UK-based video parenting site, recently released its video footage of a baby inside the womb, and it's going viral. This method uses new technology and complex algorithms to show the entire womb in amazingly clear detail. Watch the 20-week-old unborn baby kicking, stretching, swallowing and even playing with his umbilical cord.
Warning: With every adorable kick and head-butt in this video, you might have flashbacks to that special stage of pregnancy when it feels like you're being pummeled from the inside out, while your baby has an all-night dance party in utero.
With this type of MRI, doctors are able to see what’s going on underneath the baby's skin. In the video below you can even see each of the tiny chambers and valves of the baby’s heart (smaller than a penny at this age) working together.
Prenatal imaging has come a long way over the years. Traditional black and white ultrasounds, with a handheld scanner, were invented in the 1950s and didn't become common in North American hospitals and clinics until the 1970s. (Before that, doctors and midwives used fetal stethoscopes, also known as Pinard horns—they looked and functioned like ear trumpets.) 3-D ultrasounds were introduced in the mid-1990s and popularized in the 2000s.
Because there’s usually a wait time to get a regular, medically necessary MRI (at least in Canada, anyway), we don't think this viral video will change the way low-risk women monitor their healthy pregnancies anytime soon. But we do think modern technology is pretty darn amazing.