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Porto participates in a European project to make childbirth more physiological and safe

The Faculty of Medicine of the University of Porto (FMUP) participates in a European project on virtual and augmented reality technology to improve the training of nurses in the positioning of pregnant women during childbirtha researcher revealed this Wednesday.

The project, in which professionals from Portugal, Germany and the Czech Republic participate, aims to make childbirth more physiological and safer, for both mother and baby.

There are positions that, adopted by the woman during childbirth, can positively influence the progression of the process and favor the descent of the baby, in addition to helping in pain management,” FMUP researcher Carla Sá Couto explained to Lusa.

Thus, after researchers from the University of Munich (LMU), in Germany, identified that there was a gap in the educational context of their maternal and obstetric health nurses, known as nurse-midwives, a European project began to be developed that aims a Virtual reality, a set of maneuvers and positions that can help mothers and professionals during childbirth.

This project, which in Portugal is led by the FMUPIt will reach postgraduate or master’s students in obstetric maternal health at the Escola Superior de Enfermagem do Porto (ESEP) in the second semester of the next academic year.

In practice, students will be able to practice in a virtual environment in order to visualize the anatomical structures of the pregnant woman (pelvis), as well as the fetus, during labor and birth.

Various clinical scenarios will be simulated that will allow students to visualize and identify the most favorable maternal positions for childbirth, which could be, for example, on all fours or squatting.

In a second phase, obstetric simulators will be included, that is, mannequins that imitate a pregnant woman and include a fetus, combined with technology that is seen through virtual reality glasses.

“We believe that this training will help make childbirth more physiological and safer. More physiological, in the sense that the interventions are less invasive and allow the woman to have a more participatory role in childbirth,” said Carla Sá Couto.

The professor considered that “recognizing that these maneuvers are effective gives security so that the clinical decision does not immediately jump to a more invasive manipulation or a cesarean section,” pointing out that future nurses “will now have a mental model that will allow them to build a much more easy decision-making when it comes to supporting women in labor.”

The project is financed by Erasmus+ Cooperation in Higher Education (KA220-HED) with 400 thousand euros.

The pilot study is planned to begin in April 2025. In total, between 45 and 60 students should participate, of which between 15 and 20 will be Portuguese..

The FMUP team includes, in addition to the main researcher, Carla Sá Couto, the researchers Inês Jorge and Abel Nicolau.

In addition to FMUP, LMU and ESEP, the Katholische Stiftungshochschule University of Applied Sciences (KSH) and Masaryk University (MUNI MED) are involved in the project.

Source: Observadora

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