Physiology Processes of a Developing Human

The pain centre is located at the thalamus, and the thalamic projections start developing from 12 to 16 weeks. The thalamic afferents reach the cortical subplate zone starting from 20 weeks. The thalamic afferent fibres are related to pain perception. Therefore, speaking physiologically, there is enough evidence that a developing human can feel pain sensation. The central effectors of the stress response are corticotrophin-releasing hormone (CRH) and locus coeruleus-norepinephrine (LC/NE)/sympathetic system. The CRH system activates the stress response and is subject to modulation by cytokines, hormones, and neurotransmitters. In response to needle stick or in response to other conditions in the mother’s womb, the foetus has been demonstrated generate increased glucocorticoids and as a result, increased heart rate. This evidence suggests that developing human has enough physiologic basis for the feeling of pain or stress.
The presence of D antigen on red cell surface confers Rh-positivity, and absence of D antigen is known as Rh-negativity. The growing embryonic child or the foetus of an Rh-negative mother and an Rh-positive father may be Rh-positive creating a condition where there is a difference between the mother’s and child’s blood. During delivery, a small amount of the child’s blood may enter the mother’s body, and the mother’s body produces an antibody against the Rh-positive blood of the fetus. In the next pregnancy, the mother’s blood, which already contains antibody against Rh-positive blood, will enter into the foetus’ and destroy foetal blood cells. The resulting anaemia, which results out of the destruction of foetal blood cells, that is, haemolytic anaemia may be severe enough to cause foetal death. If the foetus survives to be born, this will invariably lead to severe jaundice in the newborn shortly after birth. Several measures may be adopted to prevent this catastrophe. Regular antenatal care and medical supervision in early pregnancy are needed to detect the risk of the blood type incompatibility.

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