Pain & Stress on the Developing Brain

There is now a wealth of research and evidence not only demonstrating that neonates experience pain but, they are extremely vulnerable to the effects of pain and stress as well. Pain and distress have been linked to adverse neurodevelopmental outcomes in premature infants, which have long standing effects into childhood and adulthood. The presentation will review physiology of pain, the effects of pain and stress on the central nervous system, short and long-term sequelae as well as current recommendations for pain prevention and minimization


1. Describe two physiologic and two behavioral pain or stress responses in the premature infant.

2. Explain two potential changes to the premature brain with exposure to stress and pain.

3. Identify three possible long-term effects from exposure to stress and pain in the NICU.

4. Describe two strategies to minimize the effects of pain nad stress on teh develooping infant.

Total CE: 1

NCC Code NNP 2 or 7

NCC Code NIC 2 or 7

NCC Code LRN 3 or 7

Rx = 0.2

*This presentation was included in the Small Baby Care Specialist® Program

Last updated: October, 2021

Your Instructor

Ginny McGill
Ginny McGill

Ginny is a physical therapist with a doctorate from Creighton University in Omaha who has practiced in the neonatal setting for 17 years. She has certifications in neonatal therapy, massage, skin and lymphedema care and takes a special interest in how nurturing engagement promotes infant development. Ginny is the lead neonatal therapist at the Children’s Hospital at Providence and lives in Alaska where she enjoys exploring the outdoors with her family.

Frequently Asked Questions

When does the course start and finish?
The course starts as soon as you enroll. You will have access to this course (videos) for two months. Please be sure to download lecture handouts for ongoing access to the content presented. You must complete and submit the Evaluation at the end of the course to receive CE.
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