At first glance, these life-size dolls are terrifying. And at second glance too. But the purpose of SimMom isn't to make childbirth look pretty or easy. It's to help doctors prepare for a smooth delivery, even with all sorts of complications that can occur along the way.
The birth simulation tool can mimic breathing, different birthing positions, bleeding, and physiological vitals. And doctors use her to practice delivering baby–and the placenta—in a variety of complicated scenarios. A breech baby? A postpartum hemorrhage? Cord prolapse? Thanks to a corresponding computer program, doctors can manipulate the doll into 10 different scenarios to really educate and familiarize themselves with emergency procedures before one actually happens.
"Simulation is really useful because a lot of obstetric emergencies happen; they also happen rarely. And therefore the only way to be practiced in treating them is to actually train on a regular basis," says Sonia Barnfield, ob-gyn.
But we think this doll is helpful beyond its intended use with doctors. Check out the video below. Expectant moms can get a sense of what's anatomically happening during labor without the cringe-worthiness found in those videos they show in childbirth classes. And while you can't anticipate exactly what will go down in the delivery room, the better your understanding of your body, the more confident you'll be.