Birth teaching tool a graphic lesson

The virtual birthing suite at University of the Sunshine Coast.

By Hollie Harris

A virtual birthing suite is teaching midwifery students about what happens to the placenta after childbirth.

The 3D visual learning experience is a graphic representation of the phenomenon that happens after the birth of a baby.

“At a live birth, students cannot see inside the human body and so cannot appreciate the complex simultaneous events that occur at the time of the separation of the placenta and membranes from the mother,” Bachelor of Midwifery Program Coordinator Dr Michelle Gray explained.

“With this visual immersion tool, students can see the separation of the placenta and membranes, the contractions of muscles and the blood capillaries to prevent haemorrhage, and see how the uterus contracts back into the pelvis.”

Nursing and Midwifery program coordinator Terri Downer said student feedback had been positive.

“Students have reported that the 3D simulation enhances the lecture, clinical workshop and makes clear the readings from their textbooks, which often did not provide detailed illustrations,” she said.

Student Sali Sheppard agreed.

“It was helpful to watch the physiology moving and happening in front of me rather than reading about it and trying to imagine,” Sali said.

The placenta delivery simulation was developed by USC’s own creative developers – led by Simon Osborn – working alongside academics for use in the CAVE2 resource, a 320-degree immersive stereo group virtual reality space at the main campus at Sippy Downs.

“Being able to manipulate, become immersed in, or visualise concepts or scenarios that would otherwise be impossible to experience is a powerful way to learn,” USC Manager of Visualisation Facilities Mark Barry said.