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AAP: Newborns, Especially Preemies, Experience Too Much Pain During Routine Procedures

​Pain that newborns experience from routine medical procedures can be significant, especially in premature infants with more intensive health needs.  Research suggests that repeated exposure to pain early in life can create changes in brain development and the body's stress response systems that can last into childhood.  Because of this, a new American Academy of Pediatrics policy statement recommends every health facility caring for newborns should use strategies to minimize the number of painful procedures performed, and routinely monitor and treat pain with greater emphasis on proven non-drug interventions. The policy statement, "Prevention and Management of Procedural Pain in the Neonate: An Update," will appear in the February 2016 issue of Pediatrics (published online Jan. 25). Authors of the statement said that routinely giving newborns sucrose and glucose to reduce pain during procedures is effective, but there are concerns that excessive use can affect neurological development.  At the same time, the authors said, safe and effective interventions such as skin-to-skin contact and breastfeeding remain underutilized.


The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 64,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit or follow us at @AmerAcadPeds

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