December 16, 2008

Before There Was Ultrasound, There Was The Snow Obstetrical Calculator

snow_obstetrical_orau.jpg

With 4D photo studios popping up in malls, it's easy to forget that there was a time before ultrasound when pregnancy was a largely invisible mystery. Unless you don't count the X-rays to measure the size of the fetus's head to figure out if it could fit through the pelvic opening or if they needed to crack the mom's pelvis just to be safe... Oy.

Anyway, tucked in amidst the Oak Ridge Associated Universities' dazzling collection of nuclear weapons-related calculators and slide rules is this baby, the Snow Obstetrical Calculator. It was used to help calibrate head width based on the "Objects in womb may be closer to X-ray beam than they appear" factor.

Snow Obstetrical Calculator [orau.org via dinosaursandrobots]

5 Comments

Someday I'm sure Ultrasounds will look like the dark ages...

I think the new 3-D and colored ultra-sounds already do make the black and white ultra-sound look like the dark ages.

It's just a matter of algorithms. Eventually they're going to get smart enough to where it will be like a 3-d version of those anatomical plates. They'll have the 3-d skeleton layer, 3-d vascular system layer, 3-d skin layer, 3-d placental layer, etc...

My guess is the doctors will still prefer the snow version. It's like programmers and the command line. Quicker and more accurate, albeit with a higher learning curve.

I've heard that some French OBs (or is that SOBs?) mandate a pelvic x-ray toward the end of each pregnancy so that they can check to see if the kid's tete will fit throught the pelvis. Leads to lots of c-sections I'm sure. I was an art major, not a medical student but even I know that babies' heads and moms' pelvises are flexible for a reason.

Zut alor!

More Franks in C-sections. Yes, I know they are using Euros now but it speaks more to the French to cut a woman open to make more money. I'm sure there is more money made with c-sections than with a vaginal birth. How do you get them to change their mind after they tell you that there are higher risks to the mother...blah, blah, blah.

6 mos. ago our #2 was born via c-section and I don't think it was really necessary, but what do I know. Mrs. had a very long recovery and still not up to snuf.

Good god! That is crazy. Honestly, I didn't feel close to our baby until the ultrasounds. I now proudly have them posted over my desk! Of course this tool is from the time when men weren't allowed in the dilvery room.

I was reading Hemmingways "A farewell to arms" a little bit ago and it cracks me up that the Swiss doctor tells a woman to drink beer to make her baby smaller because she is a small woman!

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