When babies are born preterm or prematurely, it is possible that they need to undergo painful treatments in intensive care which is not the case with other newborn babies.
Preterm babies often have to undergo several months of hospitalization as well as different diagnostic tests. The pain that they undergo may make the babies more pain sensitive later in life, a new study carried out by scientists at London University College (UCL), England revealed.
The researchers examined the brain activity of newborns as their blood samples were being taken.
Those babies who had been born prematurely and had spent at least 40 days being hospitalized had a stronger response compared to other babies who had not been in hospital.
This increased brain activity was seen only in response to painful stimulus, suggesting that those babies who were born early were more sensitive to pain.
This is important because it is also suggested that preterm newborns (or preemies as they are also called) need better pain relief than other babies. According to the researchers this will help to create better and more informed approaches to the administration of analgesia, and will let doctors define optimal ways of providing pain relief for preemies.
Source: Medical News Today