“Birthual” Reality is the new Craze in Health Tech

Virtual reality may be considered the chief domain of the forward-thinking gaming crowd and oft-considered trendy, but some of its more interesting applications are being developed in hospitals and universities around the world.

Stanford children’s hospital reportedly uses it to visualise congenital heart defects and The Family Reunions Project helps immigrants reunite with their families back home, demonstrating how virtual reality can offer unique experiences.

Now, thanks to Nordic insurance company Gjensidige Insurance, you can also experience a child birth in virtual reality for the first time.

The 10-minute 360-degree video shot at Örebro University Hospital in Sweden, offers insight into the preparation and labour for a young couple. An over-the-shoulder camera angle of the expectant mother before, during and after delivery of the baby is further shown in the clip.

Chief midwife at BB Stockholm hospital, Kristina Müller, believes this new virtual reality experience “has the power to make people really understand what actually happens when a child is born” and is hopeful Birthual Reality (as the process has been dubbed) can ease some of the discomfort around preparing for childbirth, according to a press release yesterday, reports CNet.

Hospitals and universities continue to forge forward with unique applications aimed at improving patient outcomes, even as the gaming community is convinced VR is a“fad”.

There is a growing amount of evidence that virtual reality apps can help patients deal with anxiety that comes with hospital stays and dealing with pain; and while Gjensidige in no way suggests that this VR experience will ease the pain of childbirth, it hopes the technology can at least prepare would-be mums and dads for what is to come.

The full video is available to watch on YouTube and the company also provides the Google Cardboard-styled “Birthual Reality” headset, which it has sent to all major Swedish maternity clinics.