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This 3-D Scan Lets Parents See Babies in the Womb

👤by NBCNews.com 0 comments 🕔Monday, November 21st, 2016

Visualization of internal structures at 27 weeks. Maureen Morley / Radiological Society of North America

"We believe that these images will help facilitate a multidisciplinary discussion about some pathologies in addition to bringing a new experience for parents when following the development of their unborn child."

The idea of a "new experience" for parents worries Dr. Deborah Levine, professor of radiology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School.

"The Brazilian images are beautiful, but do you need those beautiful images to alter your treatment plan?" Levine told NBC News.

Related:

Frowning on Prenatal Portrait Studios

"What happened with 3-D ultrasound after it was developed (was) all these shops opened taking pictures for parents, with no medical information. FDA said ultrasound should be performed only when medically necessary," Levine added.

Parents had started holding "

ultrasound parties," with unusual in-utero images going viral on social media.

"Those shops are still around, and they clearly go against prudent use of ultrasound in pregnancy, but people pay to have pictures taken of their fetuses," Levine said.

"It provides fetal images that are sharper and clearer than ultrasound and MR images viewed on a traditional display."

The danger is that that both prolonged ultrasounds and prolonged MRIs can generate heat that can be harmful to the fetus.

At $1,000 or more a pop for a fetal MRI, Levine doesn't see much potential for 3-D MRI parties.

"While the Brazilian model is technically feasible, it would not really be available to the average parent," she said.

"I'm not jumping up for joy on this one because I think we should use medical imaging only when it is medically needed."

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