Your baby does not cry but may be hurt

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London, Jun 24 (UNI) If your little one flexes its arms and legs, splays its fingers, squeezes eyes shut or furrows its brow-- check if its ''oh so cute'' gestures are signs of discomfort and pain.

According to new research, newborn babies show pain and discomfort through body movements, changes in blood pressure and facial expressions although they may or may not cry.

The study warned that infants might appear to be pain free but actually are still experiencing discomfort.

Researchers studied brain activity in 12 babies and found some babies showed brain changes associated with pain but no physical sign raising concerns doctors could be underestimating discomfort in these children.

''Although our study was small, it does raise concerns about the tools normally used by doctors to establish whether a baby is feeling pain,'' lead author Rebeccah Slater said.

Relying on a baby's cry may not be the best way to establish pain, especially in premature or very young babies in hospital, she added.

The study published in Medicine journal shows that babies cry when they are in pain but also cry when they are cold, hungry, tired and stressed. So, just because a baby is crying might not show that he is in pain.

There are also physical reflexes to a pain such as withdrawing a hand or foot which does not necessarily mean the baby is experiencing pain, it is just an automatic reflex action.

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