What is amniocentesis: Everything you want to know about it

What is amniocentesis? The answer is during pregnancy, the gynecologist asks to do a lot of tests, these tests are very important for the health of the mother and the baby. Usually, these tests are performed during the first three months of pregnancy and if the doctor finds something unusual in this test, he or she may ask to perform further tests. There are different tests done for different types of genetic diseases. Amniocentesis is one such test performed to further detect any abnormalities in the fetus. Let us know more in detail about what is amniocentesis ? 

What is amniocentesis ?

What is amniocentesis?
What is amniocentesis

Amniotic fluid is the fluid surrounding the fetus in the womb. The fluid protects the fetus during the entire pregnancy. The amniotic fluid contains proteins, enzymes, and various other growth factors that help in the development of the fetus. It is a pale yellow fluid that protects the fetus from injury, allows the babies to move, and controls the temperature of the fetus. The fetus sheds its cells into the amniotic fluid. These cells contain the genetic information of the fetus. 

The gynecologist will suggest the procedure of amniocentesis only if he or she finds it necessary from other reports. In this procedure about 15 to 30 ml of amniotic fluid is drawn with the help of needle. Doctor uses ultrasound to guide the needle at all times. This procedure can also be done late in pregnancy to know the overall health of the fetus and to know the lung maturity if the baby has to be delivered early. 

Amniocentesis test results

These tests are done with great care and require lot of effort. The sample is sent to the lab and after careful evaluation the results are given in 10 to 14 days. The fetal lung maturity test results are obtained within a few hours. 

Why do you need amniocentesis?

Amniocentesis is suggested to women during the 15th to 20th week of pregnancy if they are at a higher risk of carrying a fetus with genetic anomalies. It may also be suggested when earlier test suggests some problems. These are some of the risk factors that can increase the risk of genetic abnormality in your baby

  • If your age is more than 35 years
  • There is history of genetic disorders in your family
  • If you have another child with abnormality
  • Other tests have suggested that the baby might have some problem.
  • Risk of open neural tube defects such as spina bifida and down syndrome

Amniocentesis can be done in the third trimester of pregnancy to detect

  • Fetal lung maturity if there are chances of premature birth
  • Rh disease
  • Uterine infection

You have one in 200 risk of abortion after getting amniocentesis test done. 

How to get ready for amniocentesis?

  • First of all you should ask a lot of questions to your healthcare provider regarding this procedure. He or she will explain you everything about it. 
  • You have to sign a consent form that gives the doctor permission to do the procedure.
  • Tell your doctor if you are allergic to anything or any medicine and if you are taking any special medicines like blood thinners or anti-coagulants or if you have any bleeding disorders.
  • Let your healthcare provider know about your blood group and Rh factor.
  • Depending on the stage of pregnancy that you are at you may be asked to keep your bladder full or empty.
  • Follow the instructions given by your healthcare provider strictly.

What happens during an amniocentesis? 

The following procedure is followed during the process of amniocentesis.

  • You have to lie down on the examination table and place your hands behind your head. Your blood pressure and heart rate will be monitored. 
  • An ultra-sound will be done to monitor the fetal movements, heart rate, position, position of placenta, and umbilical cord.
  • The abdomen will be sterilized, a numbing injection will be given to you.
  • An ultrasound will be done to guide a long thin hollow needle upto your uterus, which may be slightly painful and may lead to some cramping.
  • Doctor will withdraw a small amount of amniotic fluid. This fluid will be sent to the laboratory for testing in a light protected container.
  • A bandage will be placed over the needle site. The heart rate and vital signs will be managed.

What happens after an amniocentesis?

After the procedure, the vital signs of you and your baby will be monitored. You may feel some cramping during and after the procedure. If you feel light-headed, dizzy or nauseous let your healthcare provider know about it. They may ask you to lie down on your left side. 

You may be asked to take rest and not do any strenuous activities for a few days. 

So, this is all we wanted to share with you regarding what is amniocentesis. If you know of something else do let us know in the comments section below.