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Baby's Picture-Perfect Image

A new ultrasound technique, designed to provide clearer pictures, will soon allow expectant parents to watch their babies smile or snooze while still in the womb.

CBS News Health Correspondent Dr. Emily Senay reports that the new technology, unveiled at a conference in Great Britain, is widely expected to replace the current technique, which produces grainy, hard-to-read images.

Everything else about the procedure appears standard. But the three-dimensional images will be sharp and clear and will allow parents to tell what the baby really looks like.

Some specialists in obstetrics have called the technology a "medical breakthrough," claiming that offering parents the chance to see what their baby looks like before it's born will enable them to bond better with their unborn child.

Doctors also will benefit from the technology. Being able to see everything in detail helps when doctors have to repair a birth defect or perform any kind of in utero surgery. It will make it much easier for doctors to perform "keyhole" surgery on a baby in the womb instead of a much more invasive procedure involving both mother and child.

The new technology, already available in some hospitals and clinics, was approved for marketing in the U.S. by the FDA in March. Because of its benefits, it is expected to become increasingly popular in the next few years.

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