Contrary to what many people believe, most babies start feeling pain in 35th week of pregnancy. The general belief is that babies feel pain only after birth. However, a recent study conducted by the University of London, found that response of babies’ brain activity is to pain is different from its response to prick or touch.
Lorenzo Fabrizi, lead researcher of the study, said that babies start distinguishing general touch from pain stimuli at least 2 to 4 weeks before delivery. Researchers found that the brain activity of the baby that was 28 to 35 weeks showed the same response to both touch and pain. However, the response of the baby changed after 35 weeks. Babies that were more than 35 weeks in the womb, responded with higher brain activity to when subjected to pain than to touch.
These findings explain why babies that are born prematurely can feel pain. Also, these findings can help in taking care of preemies and also help in developing treatment for preemies.
Even though many studies have been conducted in the past to study fetal pain, a lot more research needs to be done to understand the reaction of the unborn baby to pain. There are many states which have banned abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Many experts believe that foetuses should not be aborted after 20 weeks as they feel pain. Even though studying the fetal pain response is a complex phenomenon, the study gives rise to the possibility of giving medication to ease fetal pain during abortion.