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Year : 2022  |  Volume : 36  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 120-127

The myth and half-truths of fetal pain decrypted: A metaverse

1 Department of Anaesthesia, Hamdard Institute of Medical Sciences and Research, Hakeem Abdul Hameed Centenary Hospital, New Delhi, India
2 Department of Anaesthesiology and Pain Medicine, University College of Medical Sciences (University of Delhi) and GTB Hospital, New Delhi, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Sargam Goel
H.No 963-B, D Block, New Friends Colony, New Delhi
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijpn.ijpn_5_22

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Fetal pain is one of the most controversial topics in medicine because of the disagreement between people whether the fetus can perceive pain or not and the absence of any direct objective method for the assessment of fetal pain. Although fetus is incapable of declaring pain, various studies have shown that the mere experience of pain without the aptitude of self-contemplation is worth paying attention to, and that the pain in fetus need not be comparable to that of a mature adult to matter. Furthermore, refusing to acknowledge fetal pain in late preterm fetuses would jeopardize the advances in neonatal care because it would question the use of analgesia in neonates of similar gestational age. This systematic review article examines the neuroanatomical and physiological evidence of nociception in the fetus and its implications, which compel the need for its alleviation. It looks into the adequacy of International Association for the Study of Pain definition of pain to define fetal pain. The article also provides a brief overview of the existing literature on whether safe analgesia and anesthesia techniques exist for abortions and therapeutic fetal procedures. We performed a literature search for English-language articles using the electronic database with keywords: controversy in fetal pain, fetal anaesthesia, fetal analgesia, fetal pain, fetus, neuroanatomy of fetal pain, neurophysiology of fetal pain, nociception, and recent advances in understanding of fetal pain

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