Amniocentesis is most often done to see if there is an abnormality in your baby's genes (DNA). It can also be done to see if your baby is developing correctly. Later in pregnancy, it can be done to determine the maturity of your baby's lungs.
Factors that indicate that you may need this procedure include:
Age: over 35 years at the time of delivery
Family history of chromosome abnormality
Family history of inherited disorder
Family history of neural tube defect—problems in spine and brain growth, such as
Abnormal results from early screening tests for chromosomal abnormalities or a neural tube defect
Depending on your risk factors, cells in the amniotic fluid are tested for:
Chromosome abnormalities. The results are usually ready within 14 days.
Missing or extra chromosomes lead to physical birth defects and/or
is one example.
Inherited genetic diseases—Test results are usually ready in 1-5 weeks. Examples include:
You may be given a local anesthesia. This numbs a small area in the abdomen where the needle will be placed.
Description of the Procedure
ultrasound will be done. This will help
to choose a safe spot to insert the needle. Your abdomen will be cleaned. Next, a very thin needle will be inserted through your abdomen into your uterus. A few teaspoons of amniotic fluid will be removed.
After the needle is removed, the doctor will make sure that your baby's heartbeat is normal. In most cases, an ultrasound will be used throughout the procedure.
A test showing a healthy baby is ideal, but you will need to be prepared if the results show otherwise. If there is a genetic or anatomic disorder, further counseling can be helpful. Your doctor can help you understand the pros and cons of having this test. Your doctor will work with you on options that are best for you after you know the results.