National Geographic Channel Explores the Hidden World 'In The Womb'
From 4-D Ultrasound Imagery to Revolutionary In Utero Surgery, Advanced
Technology Takes You Into the Womb
WASHINGTON, Jan. 12 -- From the moment of conception, every
human embryo embarks on an incredible nine-month odyssey of development
fraught with uncertainty. Now, cutting-edge technology makes it possible to
open a window into the hidden world of the fetus and explore each trimester in
amazing new detail.
On Sunday, March 6, 2005, at 8 p.m. ET/ 9 p.m. PT, the National Geographic
Channel (NGC) presents "In the Womb," a two-hour special that uses the latest
advances in technology to take viewers on the incredible adventure of a
developing new life. Revolutionary 3-D and 4-D ultrasound imagery sheds light
on the delicate, dark world of a fetus. Viewers will also have the chance to
witness a rare fetoscope operation performed in the hope of correcting life-
threatening complications before birth.
While 2-D black-and-white ultrasound images have become commonplace, their
crude resolution and technical limitations offer only partial insight into the
developing fetus. But space-age advancements in computer technology permit the
creation of 3-D scans that transform those same shadow images into life-like
pictures of the developing fetus. "In the Womb" features even more remarkable
4-D technology that adds the element of time to those 3-D pictures to produce
action sequences of the fetus in real time.
"In the Womb" uses 4-D images to take an in-depth look into a mysterious
world and chart unprecedented details throughout the stages of pregnancy.
Witness the journey's beginning, as the embryo travels down the fallopian tube
and implants itself into the uterine wall. Go inside the uterus as the first
nerve cells are created, and return again a few weeks later to see how the
spinal cord and brain have developed.
At end of the first trimester, see startling sequences of the fetus
exhibiting reflex movements, which will be critical to its future survival in
the outside world. The last trimester explores the fetus's ability to hear
loud noises and deep tones through the fluids of the body, and even experience
At week 26, witness a second fetus diagnosed with a congenital
diaphragmatic hernia, a rare and potentially fatal defect that forms a hole in
the diaphragm of the fetus. If left untreated, the growing abdominal organs
will push up through the hole into the chest cavity and limit the development
of the lungs. A newborn usually dies from this condition a day or two after
birth because it cannot breathe properly.
But through the miracle of science, a highly skilled surgeon is able to
repair the problem by performing an operation in utero. Watch the delicate
lifesaving operation firsthand from inside the womb as a fetoscope, specially
fitted with a high-definition mini-camera, is inserted through an incision in
the mother's stomach.
Using 2-D ultrasound to guide him, the doctor inserts the fetoscope
through the womb, into the tiny mouth of the fetus and down the windpipe. Once
inside the windpipe or trachea, see a small balloon inflate at the end of the
fetoscope. Without harming the fetus, since the lungs are not used to breathe
until after birth, the balloon is left to block the hole in the trachea and
force the intestines back down into the abdomen. Two months later, the balloon
is removed and a full term baby is delivered in the ninth month.
Viewers can also experience the world outside the fetus from a belly-eye
view when the mother is fitted with a BUMPCAM. Watch from this vantage point
to learn how the fetus responds to music playing or to nursery rhymes read
aloud by its mother or father.
Taking you from conception to the moment of birth, "In the Womb" sheds
light on a delicate but dark place and takes viewers right into the fragile
and mysterious world of pregnancy.
"In the Womb" is produced for the National Geographic Channel by Pioneer
Productions in cooperation with National Geographic Channel, National
Geographic Channel International and Channel 4. Stuart Carter is the executive
producer for Pioneer Productions. Toby MacDonald is the
producer/director/writer of the program, along with contributor Professor
Stuart Campbell and head of production Kirsty McLure. Special effect sequences
were filmed by David Barlow and CGI effects were created by The Mill. For the
National Geographic Channel, executive producer is Jenny Apostol; executive in
charge of production is John Ford.
Based at National Geographic Society headquarters in Washington, D.C., the
National Geographic Channel is a joint venture between National Geographic
Television & Film (NGT&F) and Fox Cable Networks. National Geographic Channel
debuted to an initial 10 million homes in January 2001, and has been one of
the fastest growing networks in history. The Channel has carriage with all of
the nation's major cable and satellite television providers, making it
currently available to 52 million homes. For more information, please visit
SOURCE National Geographic Channel
Web Site: http://www.nationalgeographic.com/channel