Music to reduce scan time during pregnancy

Music to reduce scan time during pregnancy

Music-induced test to reduce scan time.

Experts are banking on a new application to considerably reduce ultrasound scan time in pregnant women.

Doctors at Vani Vilas Hospitals are looking at reducing the scanning time for assessment of biophysical parameters of the foetus and expectant mother with the introduction of Music and Sound Assisted Prenatal Sonography Hearing Apparatus (MAPS).

MAPS has been tested in parts of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh where effective results were yielded, according to doctors.

Dr Geetha Shivakumar, medical superintendent, Vani Vilas Hospitals, said that a test was done on 90 women in those parts and the results had been great. “We also hope to use it on 90 women to begin with, study the results and then consider it for routine evaluation,” she said.

Typically, when a biophysical profile is to be done, the time taken is about 30 minutes. However, with MAPS, this can be brought down to five minutes.

Here is how it works. A mother is helped to lie on the bed. She is given a pair of earphones and a mike. A small speaker is placed on the belly of the mother, close to the foetus. Music (less than 50 decibels) is played to the mother and the foetus. In addition to this, the mother is also asked to communicate with the child through the system.

The responses of the child to this external stimuli are noted and its biophysical parameters are noted. This can go as far as assessing high-risk pregnancies as well.

Dr Shivakumar said, “Studies have found that the child responds to music and the mother’s voice. In the usual method, we have to study the child’s behaviour for a longer period. Shortening this duration means a lot. We see hundreds of patients every day and we can see a lot more.” A rapid biophysical profile can be generated.

Not only is the time span cut down, but also hearing abnormalities or neuro-developmental disorders in the foetus can be identified early. When tests were conducted in various other states, there was a significant increase in foetal movements and tone when the music was played and the mother’s voice was heard. The test was also found to be effective among women with Oligohydramnios (a condition where there is lesser amniotic fluid).