Does a baby feel the abortion? This is one of the most important questions we get asked at Choices. In the past, it was thought that unborn babies did not develop proper nerve cells to feel any pain at all. There was a question if babies even felt pain after birth. Thanks to recent studies, both of these myths have been debunked. Babies can feel pain very early on in their life.

  • 4 Weeks: A baby’s pain receptors begin to develop followed by nerve fibers that carry messages to the brain.
  • 6 Weeks: The baby will respond to touch.
  • 8 Weeks: The cerebral cortex starts to develop and will eventually grow to have the same number of nerves as an adult.
  • 10 Weeks: If a baby is touched at 10 weeks, his/her hands and eyes will open and close.
  • 12 Weeks: Not only can the baby smile at 12 weeks, he/she now swallows and responds to simple stimulation of the skin.
  • 20 Weeks: All physiological connections are in place to feel pain. According to Dr. Paul Ranalli, a neurologist at the University of Toronto, “The fetal brain has the full complement of brain cells present in adulthood, ready and waiting to receive pain signals from the body and their electrical activity can be recorded by standard electroencephalography.”
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