Tuesday, June 29, 2004

U.S.: It's a child, not a choice

A new type of ultrasound scan has produced the vivid pictures of a 12 week-old foetus "walking" in the womb.

The new images also show foetuses apparently yawning and rubbing its eyes.

The scans, pioneered by Professor Stuart Campbell at London's Create Health Clinic, are much more detailed than conventional ultrasound.
Professor Campbell has perfected a technique which not only produces detailed 3D images, but records foetal movement in real time.

He says his work has been able to show for the first time that the unborn baby engages in complex behaviour from an early stage of its development.

Professor Campbell told the BBC: "This is a new science for understanding and mapping out the behaviour of the baby.
The images have shown:
* From 12 weeks, unborn babies can stretch, kick and leap around the womb - well before the mother can feel movement

* From 18 weeks, they can open their eyes although most doctors thought eyelids were fused until 26 weeks

* From 26 weeks, they appear to exhibit a whole range of typical baby behaviour and moods, including scratching, smiling, crying, hiccoughing, and sucking.

Until recently it was thought that smiling did not start until six weeks after birth.
Abortion cannot be the way.

Here's more:
in the photos, which were first released yesterday:
* An unborn baby boy, when positioned upright in his mother's womb, instinctively appears to try to "walk" forward.

"This is the first time we have ever seen this kind of movement this early," said obstetrician and scan pioneer Stuart Campbell....

"It is typical of what newborn babies do as a reflex. If you hold a newborn under the arms and put its feet to a table top, it will make stepping movements, and this is what the baby is doing in the womb."

* A 22-week-old unborn boy scratches, rubs and pats his cheek, then his nose, indicating that fetuses are capable of fine finger movements from an early age.

* Fetuses as young as 11 weeks not only sucked their thumbs, but one brought his toes to his mouth, then searched around until he found the biggest to latch onto.

* At 12 weeks, some fetuses were already yawning and rubbing their eyes.

* Fetuses as young as 18 weeks were seen opening their eyes. That's about eight weeks earlier than they were previously thought to be able to do so.

* After 26 weeks, the fetuses behaved like typical newborns to an extent, scratching, crying and smiling.
"These are essential reflexes we are seeing," Campbell said. "It is the baby learning about its body."


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