Can a fetus feel pain ?

When the baby pops out, or is cut out, they are generally given a vigorous slap it initiate breathing.

So I would think that the fetus is merely sleeping and can feel pain.

But then again I understand that circumcision isn’t really all that painful for a baby.

So is there any science on pain for a fetus ?

Yes, of course it feels pain. As it develops its anatomy becomes identical to that of a newborn. How much pain it feels and how it is able to process that pain is a little trickier to quantitate. I’d suggest looking online for assorted opinions. Beware that many sites may have a bias toward emphasizing how much pain a fetus can feel because the whole issue feeds into the abortion debate.

Most babies I’ve poked at or cut (and that’s a lot in my profession of emergency medicine) holler pretty good. They may not remember it later but it sure looks to me like it was pretty ordinary “pain.”

Then there’s the psychological pain of a unilateral decision to cut off part of the Package: enough for a Lifetime of Suffering

I’ve heard that too, but then again who remembers?

Is that for real?

Finally! As a WASP male I can join the ranks of the victimized and bitch about something! :rolleyes:

I’m not sure what this sentence means. A baby in the womb has waking and sleeping periods. It swallows, excretes, and so on. Many babies suck their thumbs before birth, develop particular kicking habits, and so on. Mine always got hiccups. So an unborn baby is not always sleeping.

IME a newborn can certainly feel pain, and will let you know it very loudly. Unborn babies can too, but I don’t think we know the exact progression of development. Just because a baby doesn’t have much memory doesn’t mean he can’t feel pain.

It would depend on how far along the fetus is, I’d think. A fetus undergoes an awful lot of development; it starts with barely any brain at all.

Some doctors argue that they think fetuses can’t experience pain until around 28 weeks. Others say they’re wrong, and pain becomes possible eight weeks earlier than that. Very few people try to suggest anything earlier than 20 weeks.

Not sure there is any real way to determine this. I think it is important to distinguish between a stimulus/response action and “pain”. I have no idea of brain structures during development (what happens when) but I would think some higher order processing is necessary to apply “pain” as occurring. Before that you may well poke the fetus and get a response but that is not the same as the fetus feeling pain.

Again, IANAD and I do not know where pain occurs in the brain and so on. Just adding something to think about and maybe get detail on from those who know.

Personally, I have a LOT of trouble believing that. I think it’s more a matter of a baby can’t physically stop the adult from slicing off his foreskin. They certainly do scream and cry when the cut is made.

I can only speak for the two kids I’ve popped out, but there was no slapping involved. They cried just fine on their own at the indignity of being squeezed through the Play Doh fun factory of life.

You have added to my sexual euphanisms today!

I have read anti-abortion literature that claims a fetus is on level with a newborn at 12 weeks of development, the remaining time it just “gets bigger.” I didn’t believe it either.

I was just reading a book that touched on this ( The Feeling of What Happens by Antonio Damasio ); he mentions a patient he knew who suffered intractable pain, to the extent of being curled up in a fetal position most of the time. They performed a procedure that destroyed certain tiny areas of the brain, and a short time later Damasio found the guy cheerfully playing cards with other patients. Upon being asked, he said that he actually felt the pain just as much as ever - it just didn’t bother him anymore, it was just another sensation apparently. The point that Damansio was making is that “pain” and “suffering” are actually two different things.

So yes, the fetus could indeed have have some of the systems involved in pain responses, but not enough to actually suffer. It seems unlikely that it would have the full setup right away.

FWIW I read that 50+ years ago, when they did surgery on small babies, they did not use anaesthetics because they believed kids so young could not feel pain. I always speculated my hernia operation then is the root of all my weirdness since.