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Taking Some Of The Guesswork Out Of Childbirth

Scientists in Germany were struck by the resemblance between forces acting on passengers and vehicles in a car crash and the pressures on mother and child during delivery. The similarities inspired a team of researchers at Electronic Data Systems Deutschland to modify software that models the forces in a car crash so that it can help obstetricians predict which women will need cesarean sections.

Ultrasound or other imaging readings, along with pelvic measurements, are plugged into software that then calculates the stress on both the mother and child. The program now runs on a Cray supercomputer. EDS plans to adapt it to run on a workstation or personal computer by the end of 1994. Currently, it's being tested at University Women's Clinic in Mannheim.

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