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You are here : home > Preconception > Miscarriages, Abortions and Congenital Diseases > Detecting Abnormalities: Amniocentesis

Detecting Abnormalities: Amniocentesis


Amniocentesis is very helpful in detecting abnormalities during pregnancy. Read on to learn more about amniocentesis.


What is amniocentesis and how is it performed?

This test is helpful in diagnosing birth defects such as neural tube defect (NTD), including anencephaly (formation of brain failure), spina bifida (open spine), Down syndrome or trisomy 21 and cystic fibrosis. A small sample of the fluid in which the baby lies is drawn off through a needle.  The test measures the amount of foetal protein both in the mother's blood as well as in the amniotic fluid surrounding the baby.

The needle is pricked with the help of an ultrasound. An ultrasound helps to locate the safe area for pricking the needle and drawing the fluid safely from the amniotic sac. It does not take more than 5 minutes for drawing the fluid from the amniotic sac. However, it may take around 45 minutes to complete the entire process.


When can be the results of amniocentesis obtained?

After drawing amniotic fluid from the amniotic sack of the mother, it is sent to the laboratory. This fluid contains the cells of the foetus. A period of few days to a couple of weeks may be required in order to analyse the fluid and provide the results.


For whom is amniocentesis advised?

An amniocentesis is usually advised for women in the following high risk category for birth defects: women over 35, women with three or more miscarriages, either parent or sibling has a known chromosomal abnormality or a hereditary disease.

It is also recommended in case if the membranes of a pregnant woman are ruptured prematurely and in order to determine if there is uterine infection. It is also very useful to determine if the foetus requires blood transfusion in case of foetal anaemia. This can be a lifesaving decision. Amniocentesis is also useful during late pregnancy to determine if the lungs are mature enough before delivery.


When is amniocentesis performed during pregnancy?

Doctors may ask a pregnant woman to undergo amniocentesis between the 14th and 20th week of her pregnancy. Few women are also asked to undergo this test during the 11th week of their pregnancy.


What are the other uses of amniocentesis?

Paternity testing can also be conducted with the help of amniocentesis even before the baby is born. Baby’s DNA can be accessed through amniocentesis before baby’s delivery. In this procedure DNA of the prospective father is taken and compared with the DNA of the baby obtained through amniocentesis. The results derived from such paternity testing are 99% accurate.


What are the side effects and risks associated with amniocentesis?

Although, the procedure of amniocentesis is safe the chances of miscarriage cannot be ruled out. But the chances of miscarriage are less than 1% and even lesser in case of the centres where amniocentesis is conducted on regular basis.

During this procedure, miscarriage can be caused mainly due to premature induction of labour, breaking of water and uterine infection. Mothers also have to be prepared to undergo pain when the needle is pricked in the skin as well as when it pricked in the uterus. They may also experience the symptoms like cramping and some pain near the area where the needle was pricked. Leakage of fluid may also be experienced by some women.

One of the probable risks of amniocentesis is that if it is not performed correctly by taking ample of precautions, the needle can touch the baby. Therefore, it becomes a must to take right precautions with the help of ultrasound to prevent the needle from coming in contact with the baby.

When any discomforts are experienced after undergoing this test, it is a must to bring them to the notice of your doctor.

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69 Comments
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Mils.6 years ago
amniocentesis is a boon for women with a family history of a disease. it can prevent miscarriage and any other future problems that the baby or the mother may face by detecting it early. could you tell me how it detects the abnormalities.
 
 
 
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Somu.6 years ago
is amniocentesis a painful procedure. from where is the sample fluid taken and is it painful? how much time does it take to give the results? do all hospitals and nursing homes have this faclitiy
 
 
 
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Sheeba.6 years ago
i have a family history of spina bifida. i am now 15 weeks pregnant. though my doctor says the baby is doing fine i do not want to take any chances. i want to get amniocentesis done. what is the earliest time when it can detect abnormalities in the developing baby.
 
 
 
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Sheela.8 years ago
hi i already have two kids and all of a sudden i doscover that i am pregnant for the third time. at first i am nervous and think of abrtion ... then my husband says e wants to keep the baby so i also decide that it will be nice to have three kids ... and these days that is considered a large family considering some of my friends are having just one child. then recently a very unfortunate thing happened. in my 12th week when i went to the doctor, she told me that the baby had stopped growing after 6 weeks. so i went threough a surgery to clean up after a miscarriage. but i cannot tell you how depressed i feel about the miscarriage. i keep wondering how life would have been with three kids ... and i hold myself responsible. it seems god almost heard me when i was thinking that i did not want to keep the third. i am already past 39 and don't really want to plan a baby ... becasue it is a high risk age. i sometimes wish i had been more careful then maybe i would not have miscarried. do any of you feel the same way?
 
 
 
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Tim.8 years ago
each of the children you have is precious and wonderful, and each of the children other parents have is wonderful, and each of the people in the world, who were all someone's children, is wonderful, too. you have two children of your own to love, and 6,500,000,000 other people to love also. so do your best to love us all, and each of us will benefit from your love, just as do your own two children. best wishes!
 
 
 
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sheela.8 years ago
yes i know how u feel.i also because pregnant after i had my tubes tied . but i lost it at 11/2 months pregnant . i do want another one .
 
 
 
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kim.8 years ago
well i dont have any children and i wasnt ever pregnant or had an abortion but i was just wondering about what happend to the fetiss' involved in the abortions? i was just wondering because i am writing a speech on abortion and i needed more facts and i was wondering if anyone knew (please dont give me false imformation.)
 
 
 
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Mohini.8 years ago
i had 4 miscarriages in the months of 2,4,3 & recently in 19th weeks. the doctors are telling that it may be because of some allergy, the reason for which is not known. but some days back i came to know that if minus sign is there in hsg test then we have to take some rubella (exactly not known)injection to make it + and then can try for pregnancy. is it true ? will i be able to deliver a healthy baby after taking this injection ? please advise.
 
 
 
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shantae roberts.8 years ago
i 2 was messin wit a boy named breon who i told i migth be pregant and he told his mom and she told him to tel me to drink vinger is that even good to my health i don't want to lose my child over sumin like dis and plus i wanted the babe im only 15 and i have always wanted a babe butwas dis to much i wonder and i cry every single nigth wonderin if i was ever pregant wit his babe in the first place
 
 
 
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Rosa Martin.8 years ago
i have 2 kids a boy and a girl we are a lovely family of 4...but then to my suprise i was prepnant after 15 years, at first everything was okay but then i got scared because a week after i started to bleed so my docter told me i had a miscarriged, and as most people i also was very depressed and what hurt me the most was that my kids and my husband wanted me to have the baby.
 
 
 
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