New 3-D MRI May Determine the Health of your Placenta

New 3-D MRI May Determine the Health of your PlacentaGetting a peek at your baby during ultrasounds or listening to her heartbeat on a monitor is a special glimpse into life in the womb. These procedures and other tests help doctors determine how your baby is fairing in her temporary headquarters. And there’s a ton of resources you can read about exactly how your baby is developing day-by-day. But when it comes to the health of your placenta, the essential organ that sustains your baby during pregnancy, there haven’t been any standard means of information. That is, until now.

The placenta is a temporary organ that your body creates to sustain your baby during the 40 some odd weeks of gestation. It pulls nutrients and oxygen from your increased blood supply to support your baby’s growth and development. It also takes away anything toxic your baby is emitting and supports your baby’s immune health while in utero.

A new 3-D MRI was developed by the neonatology division of Children’s National Health System that may help determine the health of your placenta. The new technology is able to measure the shape, volume and texture of your placenta to assist your doctors in finding abnormalities that may impact both you and your baby.

Although rare, placental disease is harmful to mothers and babies. It is often marked by slowed fetal growth known as fetal growth restriction (FGR). Prior to the new 3-D MRI for placentas, by the time the small size of the fetus was discovered, it may have been too late to intervene with a positive outcome.

Now, doctors can be better informed about the health of your placenta and the conditions your baby may be facing if your placenta is compromised. The MRI proved to be 86% accurate and was able to determine a fetus’ eventual birth weight “relatively well.”

Having more information about the health of your placenta may be a valuable resource that could protect you and your baby in the event of any complications. More research will be done using the new technology to fine-tune its accuracy and perhaps discover new findings about placental health.

Sources: The Bump and Children’s National Health System