COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - We are officially under the one week mark to when Macy the gorilla at Riverbanks Zoo could give birth to the zoo's first baby gorilla.
With Macy's projected due date is any time between May 8 and June 13, veterinarians and keepers at the zoo brought in human OB/GYN's to take a look at Macy's latest ultrasound.
It was the most active ultrasound our cameras captured to date, including a look at the baby's skull, and possibly it's arm or leg as it moved around (See Macy's latest checkup above!).
However, doctors were looking for one thing in particular.
"We want to know where the placenta is located," Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at USC School of Medicine Dr. James Cook said. "We want to make sure it's not covering the opening of the uterus or the cervix because that could lead to a risky delivery and would have to possibly intervene if that occurred."
While Dr. Cook is used to looking at human ultrasounds, that's exactly why vets say his expertise is helpful ahead of Macy's delivery. It's all part of a partnership between the zoo and the USC School of Medicine.
"We know that gorillas from a physiological standpoint are very similar to people so we wanted to make sure that we had someone who dealt with births and potential he even troublesome births," Paige Brock, Associate Veterinarian at Riverbanks Zoo, said. "After all this is the first pregnancy for Macy, and we never know what could happen so we wanted to have them on standby."
While it's hard to get a definitive answer about the place of the placenta because of the ultrasound limitations for keepers through the mesh of the gorilla barn, Dr. Cook says he feels good about what he's seeing on Macy's latest ultrasound.
"As long as we've been so far, and I'm not seeing placenta that's good. While I can't tell you exactly where it is so far it does not appear the placenta is very low," Dr. Cook said. "Once we know that the placenta is not covering the opening of the uterus, it doesn't move. So once you know it's not there you feel good from that you can move on to look for other things."
With the baby coming soon, Dr. Cook says those "other things" will key, as well.
"We will be looking at the presentation," said Dr. Cook. "'Is the baby's head down or is it a breech presentation when it comes closer to labor?' We want to make sure, 'Does it still have adequate fluid? Does it look like that she broke her bag of waters?' we would expect labor to be really short and to be coming quickly."
WIS has officially gone on "Baby Gorilla Watch!" We'll keep you posted about the very latest as we follow Macy to her delivery day.