What is Amniocentesis and How to Prepare for an Amniocentesis

amniocentesis Amniocentesis

Amniocentesis is a process of taking the amniotic fluid from the uterus for doing various tests. Normally this will be done between 16th week to 20th week of pregnancy. The amniotic fluid is the fluid that is accumulated in the amniotic sac and in which the baby grows. This fluid contains cells that the baby shed from its body and is a natural process of growth. It also contains some proteins. These cells and the proteins present in the amniotic fluid are then examined in the laboratory to found out any abnormalities in the chromosomes.

Need for Amniocentesis

Amniocentesis is usually done in woman above the age of 35 years at the time of first delivery or who had a child with defective spina bifida. If a woman had still birth before then also the doctor may recommend amniocentesis. This test is also done in couples having a family history of chromosomal abnormalities. This test is also done to detect the sex of the baby. This test will also give idea about the development of internal organs.

Preparation for an Amniocentesis

Before going for the test you have to take enough water to keep your bladder full and definitely you can have a light breakfast. An ultra sound scan will be done to locate the place of placenta and the position of the baby. With the help of this scanning report your doctor will locate the place to insert the needle.

Your doctor will ask you to lie down on the procedure table and then doctor will clean your abdomen with betadine or alcohol. Normally they won’t give you any anesthesia as the pain involved in this procedure is bearable. If your doctor recommends any painkiller then you can take it before the procedure.

Your doctor will then insert a long needle in to your uterus and will take about an ounce of amniotic fluid. The entire procedure may take an hour and you can leave the hospital after taking 2 hours rest. For the next 48 to 72 hours you are not supposed to lift heavy objects or making an air travel.

Risks Involved in Amniocentesis

Amniocentesis is also associated with risks like miscarriage and infections. Even tough your doctor takes every precaution for avoiding these risks still these may happen at times.