Pregnancy marks the most joyful time of many women’s lives. But pregnancy remains a physically demanding process that can be wrought with complications and even serious health risks from conception to delivery.

Fortunately, advances in 21st century technology have made this natural process safer. From developments in ultrasonography to advanced testing, new discoveries have enabled doctors to identify and treat complications that once spelled pregnancy disaster.

Fetal Scanning

It wasn’t so long ago that pregnancy remained a somewhat mysterious process, full of risks for mother and child. Fetal scanning, now taken for granted, had not yet developed into the tool for a safe pregnancy that it is today.

Doctors of yesteryear had only stethoscopes to listen to monitor things like fetal heartbeat. For mom, issues like high blood pressure were often not detected until it was too late. And breached births, now so easily detected in ultrasound, could not easily be predicted.

Ultrasounds and Prenatal Glucose Testing

One of the first big steps toward safer pregnancies came in the 1960s, with the introduction of the fetal monitor, which let doctors use Doppler ultrasound to monitor pregnancy.

Advances since have included better glucose monitoring that has enabled doctors to identify gestational diabetes.

Meanwhile, when conditions are spotted, there are newer and better medications than ever to reduce impacts and make both mom and baby comfortable and safe.

Continuous Electronic Fetal Monitoring

Delivery is the most risky time for mom and baby. Fortunately, there are now more and better ways to monitor physiological signs for trouble during delivery as well as newer ways to extract babies from the birth canal. These include continuous electronic fetal monitoring, which can spot trouble in the delivery faster (Source: Gilbert Webb).

Even the historically risk Caesarean section has gotten a technological upgrade through innovations such as the Misgav Ladach method, which reduces infection risk and has a faster recovery time. The most skilled doctors, meanwhile, have become better at performing C-sections with less scarring.

Biochemical Testings for Pregnancy Risks

With so many exciting developments, it’s hard to imagine what could come next.

One major area for advancement involves biochemical testing, which lets physicians use chemical reactions in the body to detect things like pre-eclampsia months earlier than before.

Proposed developments in fetal tracking technology, meanwhile, include a device that uses GPS-like technology to determine fetal position during delivery.

For years, pregnancy and childbirth remained potentially life-threatening events. While no technology can remove all risks, current advances have drastically cut pregnancy complications. Use sites like Mercy to find doctors and what medical equipment and technology they use in their office. Simply put, there’s no safer time to have a visit from the stork!