Researchers at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) have developed a new method of using MRI technology to scan the placenta during a women's pregnancy.
According to a UCLA press release, many previous studies regarding the subject matter were conducted after childbirth—not before. Furthermore, the study demonstrated promise in providing higher quality images that can indicate pregnancy complications and other details when compared to an ultrasound exam.
The UCLA researchers conducted the study by using MRI to track water molecules in the arterial blood of 34 pregnant women who were in their second trimester.
"The noninvasive approach offers valuable insights into how the mother’s blood enters the placenta and sustains the fetus with oxygen and nutrients during early pregnancy," according to the press release.
The study was published in the Journal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging and led by Kyung Sung PhD, assistant professor of radiology at UCLA, Carla Janzen MD, PhD, associate professor of obstetrics-gynecology at UCLA, and Sherin Devaskar, MD, physician-in-chief at UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital.