Ultrasound, which passes sound waves into the body to create pictures from their reflections, is commonly used to check that babies in the womb (or fetuses) are healthy. Although every pregnant mother in the country has a scan at around 20 weeks, not all of the babies who have problems are picked up on these ultrasound scans. We are proposing:

  • New technologies that allow scanning to be carried out with multiple ultrasound probes (the device which takes the ultrasound picture) at the same time which have better imaging capabilities and move automatically to the right place to get the best pictures of the whole baby.
  • Improved fetal ultrasound imaging through automated image processing. By combining conventional ultrasound imaging from routine scans with more detailed MRI we will build a map of fetal anatomy to use for computer assisted diagnosis of fetal anomalies.

These advances should mean a high quality scanning service across the country which is not dependent on local expertise, and fewer babies who have major problems will be missed.