My first child is nearly 20 years old now. It feels weird just typing that statement, but on the eve of his 20th birthday it got me thinking about just how far technology (as it relates to pregnancy) has come in that time frame. I thought that a great way to flesh out my thoughts on the matter even further was to jot down a quick blog post detailing just how far we’ve come, and how amazing technology is when it comes to pregnancy, family planning, and delivery.
We’re not too far off from a time that we wipe the most undesirable pregnancy issues away for good. And I, for one, couldn’t be happier that we’re nearing that day.
So, let’s get started.
Believe it or not, the 3D ultrasound is actually a relatively new technology. I know that to most of us it seems to have been around forever, but it was actually just developed in 1987. Now, that’s outside of the timeline for this series of breakthroughs in pregnancy and family planning, but the newer iteration – the 4D ultrasound – has only been widely accepted for use since the late 90s. Now, we can get a clearer picture than ever of our unborn, and without any disruptive procedures that could prove harmful to the fetus. If you’ve ever seen the images from one, you know just how cool they really are.
Now that non-invasive prenatal tests are gaining popularity amongst expectant mothers, your doctor can now order a test from an outside laboratory that tests for specific trisomies such as trisomy 21 (Down Syndrome) and trisomy 18 (Edward Syndrome). The lab results are available in your healthcare provider’s office within 5 days after the lab receives the sample and are the only ones of their kind to offer a positive or negative result (yes or no) for multiple chromosomal abnormalities. This test can be ordered as early as 10 weeks into your pregnancy.
Stem Cell Technology
Who would have thought just a couple decades prior that we could be using stem cells from amniotic fluid as a technological tool to study the regenerative effects they may have on tissue. Embryonic stem cell research is hotly contested, and highly controversial, modern medicine has actually found a way to use cord blood (blood from the umbilical cord) to test for therapeutic potential against diabetes and autoimmune disorders.
The pill has come a long way. In fact, it’s not always a pill anymore. We now have shots, patches and transdermal implants for those that need alternatives to the typical oral contraception. Not only is it more effective than ever, but we’re also using it for things outside of its original intended use, such as treating acne and migraines. Also, we have varieties available that utilize different hormone dosages designed to regulate mood, weight loss/gain, and even menstrual cycles. Some modern pills are designed to only give you periods once a quarter, or not at all. Technology!
Nearing the End for Infertility
Infertility treatment has also come a long way. We’re nearing a day where we’ve completely cured infertility, and advances in modern medicine – notably fertility treatments and intrauterine insemination (IUI) – have plotted the course for this amazing advancement.
This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to family related technology advances over the past twenty years, but after thinking about it, I just couldn’t help putting together my own list of some of the most amazing advancements to happen in just the past generation. I hope you’re as fascinated by this as I am.