16.09.2011: Babies feel pain at 35 weeks gestation according to new study

16.09.2011

Last week a study was published which proves that the unborn child can feel pain from 35 weeks.

The study was published in the journal Current Biology. Researchers from Univeristy College London observed 46 babies some of whom were born prematurely in an effort to find ways to more effectively treat newborns.  The scientists measured electrical brain activity while the babies underwent the standard newborn blood test where the blood sample is collected from the baby’s heel.  They found that from 35 weeks of development, neural activity in the brain slowly changes from an immature state to an almost adult-like state suggesting that the baby can process pain as a separate feeling from touch.

Dr Lorenzo Fabrizi, who was the lead author of the research paper suggested it was possible that babies felt pain before even 35 weeks.  He said  ‘In very young brains all stimulations are followed by ‘bursts’ of activity, but at a critical time in development babies start to respond with activity specific to the type of stimulation…..We cannot say that before this change in brain activity they don’t feel pain.”

Research fellow Dr. Rebeccah Slater said “Premature babies who are younger than 35 weeks have similar brain responses when they experience touch or pain….After this time there is a gradual change, rather than a sudden shift, when the brain starts to process the two types of stimuli in a distinct manner.”

Suprisingly some pro-choice groups published information about this study in an effort to contradict studies that have found that the unborn child experiences pain even earlier than 35 weeks and in so doing have put all of those who believe in abortion until birth on the defensive.

You can access the Current Biology Study here

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