File photo: Scientists at the University of Leeds have developed scanning techniques to show a baby’s heart in the womb. Picture: Reuters

London - Scientists at the University of Leeds have developed scanning techniques to show a baby’s heart in the womb. 

It’s hoped this could reduce miscarriages.

Using MRI technology and computer software, they obtained images of foetal hearts between 95 and 143 days in the womb. From these, they identified that the greatest changes occurred at 124 days (about 17 weeks), with the four chambers of the heart developing in four days.

At present, a baby’s heart can only be effectively monitored after 20 weeks - and it’s believed that one in ten miscarriages is  caused by the heart’s failure to form normally.