The AAPS Journal

, Volume 14, Issue 3, pp 456–461

Pain Assessment in Human Fetus and Infants

Review Article Theme:Human and Veterinary Therapeutics: Interspecies Extrapolations and Shared Challenges

DOI: 10.1208/s12248-012-9354-5

Cite this article as:
Bellieni, C.V. AAPS J (2012) 14: 456. doi:10.1208/s12248-012-9354-5


In humans, painful stimuli can arrive to the brain at 20–22 weeks of gestation. Therefore several researchers have devoted their efforts to study fetal analgesia during prenatal surgery, and during painful procedures in premature babies. Aim of this paper is to gather from scientific literature the available data on the signals that the human fetus and newborns produce, and that can be interpreted as signals of pain. Several signs can be interpreted as signals of pain. We will describe them in the text. In infants, these signs can be combined to create specific and sensible pain assessment tools, called pain scales, used to rate the level of pain.

Key words

analgesic drugfetusnewbornpainpain scale

Copyright information

© American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Neonatal Intensive Care UnitUniversity HospitalSienaItaly