How much pain do babies feel?
Newborns used to be considered insensitive to pain. It is now clear that they are often even more sensitive than adults in this regard.
At the beginning of their lives, everyone finds it difficult to communicate with others. If babies don't like something, they scream at the top of their lungs. But what exactly is bothering them can often only be guessed at: Are they hungry or tired, is it too hot, too cold, too loud … Pain, on the other hand, is what physicians thought up until the 1980s and newborns hardly noticed it at all. Your young nervous system is too immature and therefore not able to detect and process corresponding stimuli. Because of the associated risks, medication was often avoided. Doctors therefore often carried out blood tests and operations on infants without anesthesia or painkillers.
Numerous studies have confirmed that the brain is not fully wired at birth. Many nerve pathways only develop in the first weeks and months of life. At the same time, the organism gradually learns to process sensory stimuli correctly, optical, acoustic and tactile. The assumption that newborns experience pain differently than adults is therefore not far-fetched. But what is the difference in experience?
These questions affect millions of babies around the world. A small proportion of them are treated and cared for in neonatal intensive care units, sometimes for months. But even he althy children usually have a few drops of blood taken in the first few days of life - for newborn screening, which usually takes place as part of the second children's check-up. To do this, a doctor or nurse briefly pricks your heel or the back of your hand until some blood runs out of the puncture site…