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Orv Hetil. 2010 Apr 25;151(17):702-6. doi: 10.1556/OH.2010.28833.

[Fetal pain and intrauterine analgesia/anesthesia--long-term pathologic effects, causes and alleviation of intrauterine pain].

[Article in Hungarian]

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Debreceni Egyetem, Orvos- es Egészségtudományi Centrum, Szülészeti es Nogyógyászati Klinika Debrecen.


The human fetus can suffer several presumably painful interventions perinatally and even before, during its intrauterine life. In the past years, scientific dispute concerning the existence of fetal pain and the need for its relief has expanded, and a heated social, political, religious, moral and philosophical debate has arisen, focusing mainly on the suffering experienced by the fetus during artificial abortion. In our two connected papers, medical scientific knowledge regarding fetal pain in the literature is reviewed. In the first article published in Orvosi Hetilap volume 150, issue 11, we defined pain and the neuroanatomical structures participating in subjective pain perception, as well as the development of these structures. Then, the objective indicators of intrauterine stress response (such as fetal neuroendocrine, cardiovascular, reflex and behavioral reactions) evoked by noxious stimuli were discussed. The present second article gathers the evidence of long-term pathologic effects caused by early-experienced pain and stress in animal models and humans. Finally, the potentially pain-evoking pre- and perinatal interventions are evaluated, as well as the analgetic/anesthetic methods that can be applied to intrauterine fetuses in everyday obstetrical practice.

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