An international team of doctors and scientists announced in 2010 that it had recorded the world's first video of childbirth using magnetic resonance imaging. Now, that footage has been released to the public. You have never seen childbirth like this.
According to New Scientist, the team relied on a technique known as cinematic MRI to observe the active second stage of labor (this is also known as the "expulsion phase" for what should be obvious reasons):
The technique... takes repeated images of the same slice of the body before joining them up to create an ultra-detailed video [featured below].
By using MRI, the team was able to examine the relationship between the movement of the fetus and its position as it travels through the birth canal, which should help doctors better manage labour and delivery.
The footage, featured here, is incredible for a number of reasons, but there are two that really stick out in my mind.
The first is that the OBGYNs used this technique to observe the birth as it was happening. The baby's spine, its brain, even its eyes can be clearly distinguished from the anatomical features of its mother, and it's all visible in real time (shown below is a labelled screenshot of the footage). This function makes cinematic MRI not just a useful technique for studying the mechanisms of labor, but a helpful tool — one that could be used to give doctors unprecedented insight into the anatomical status of a mother and her child during delivery.
The second is the range of possible things that the team could one day create with the data it's collecting from these videos. For example, the researchers say that using the information to create virtual-reality training simulations is a distinct possibility.
Video by Bamberg C, Rademacher G, Güttler F, et al. via unnecessarian