University Of Tasmania

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The road to birth: using digital technology to visualise pregnancy anatomy

posted on 2023-05-22, 19:42 authored by Jones, D, Hazelton, M, Evans, DJR, Pento, V, Zi Siang SeeZi Siang See, Leugenhaege, LV, Fealy, S
Pregnancy is a time of profound anatomical and physiological reorganisation. Understanding these dynamic changes is essential to providing safe and effective maternity care. Traditional teaching methods such as the use of static cadaver specimens are unable to illustrate and give appreciation to the concurrent fetal and maternal changes that occur during this time. This chapter describes the development of the Road to Birth (RtB) a collaborative, multi-modal, digital anatomy program, aimed to provide undergraduate midwifery students with a novel, visual, interactive and accessible, pregnancy education tool. The RtB digital anatomy program provides users with an internal view of pregnancy and fetal development, spanning 0–40 weeks of pregnancy, up to the immediate postpartum period. Users of the program have the opportunity to observe, interact and manipulate detailed 3D models and visualise the growth of a fetus and maternal anatomical changes simultaneously. The program is inclusive of detailed digital fetal and placental models that display both normal and pathological birth positions. The models are accompanied by written educational content that is hypothesised to support both technical and non-technical skill development. The RtB program has been deployed and tested amongst two international cohorts of undergraduate midwifery students. Findings indicate that the RtB as a mobile application and as an immersive virtual reality program have the potential to be useful pregnancy education tools with further empirical testing underway.


Publication title

Digital Anatomy




JF Uhl, J Jorge, D Simões, and LF Campos






Faculty of Education



Place of publication




Rights statement

Copyright 2021 Springer

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Digital humanities; Expanding knowledge in education; Expanding knowledge in the health sciences