What is Amniocentesis?

Amniocentesis is a procedure performed to evaluate the health of the baby inside the womb. This test is done when certain risk factors have been identified, and is used to look for fetal abnormalities such as fetal genetic disorders, or other physical problems.

Why is Amniocentesis Done?

Amniocentesis is usually done in women over 35 years of age to check for chromosomal abnormalities such as Down Syndrome, Turner Syndrome and Klinefelter Syndrome. It is also done when a pregnant woman or the fetus are suspected to have certain medical conditions such as spina bifida or Tay-Sachs disease. Furthermore, amniocentesis can also be used to determine the sex of the baby if it is desired.

Preparation for Amniocentesis

Before the procedure is performed, it is important that the mother undergoes a few laboratory tests such as blood tests, glucose tests, and a scan so that the physician can determine any potential risks associated with the procedure. Moreover, the physician will advise the mother to abstain from consuming any alcoholic beverages at least 24 hours before the procedure.

Amniocentesis Procedure

Amniocentesis is performed in three steps. First, the pregnant woman needs to lie down on her back and a physician will sterilize the abdomen. Second, the physician will use an ultrasound to locate the placenta and the fetus. Then, a thin needle will be inserted through the abdomenwall in order to take a sample of the amniotic fluid. This fluid is tested for chromosomal abnormalities and genetic disorders.

Types of Amniocentesis

  • Diagnostic Amniocentesis: This type of amniocentesis is used to detect Down Syndrome, Turner Syndrome and other chromosomal abnormalities.
  • Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS): This type of amniocentesis is done between 10-12 weeks to determine a baby’s risk of birth defects.
  • Exstended Fetal Maternal Ratio Testing: This type of amniocentesis is done between the 15th and 25th week of the pregnancy to check the health of the fetus and to determine the sex of the baby.

Risks Associated with Amniocentesis

The risks associated with amniocentesis include a risk of infection and a risk of preterm labor. Moreover, there is a possibility that the fetus could be harmed due to the procedure, which is why it is important to consult with a physician before undergoing the procedure.

When to get Amniocentesis Test?

Amniocentesis is typically recommended for women who are at high risk for carrying a baby with birth defects. Examples can include women over the age of 35, women who have previously had a baby with a genetic disorder, and women with a family history of some type of genetic disorder. It can also be used to determine the gender of the baby.