Amniocentesis is usually performed at any time from the 15th completed week of gestation.
How the test is performedAmniocentesis is done on an outpatient basis: no stay in hospital is need. The exact location of the baby is found, usually by performing a pregnancy ultrasound. An area of skin on the mother's belly area is cleaned. A numbing medication (anesthetic) may be applied to the skin, or a local anesthetic may be injected into the skin. A long, thin needle is inserted through the abdomen and into the womb (uterus). A small amount of fluid is taken from the fluid-filled sac that surrounds the baby.
How to prepare for the testThe patient's bladder must be full for the ultrasound. There are no food or drink restrictions. A blood sample may be needed to determine your blood type and Rh factor. An injection of a medication called Rhogam may be given if the patient's blood is Rh negative.
How the test feelsIf an anesthetic is used, a sharp, stinging sensation may be felt for a few seconds. When the needle enters the amniotic sac, a sharp pain may be felt lasting a few seconds. Some women feel pressure in the lower abdomen when the fluid is pulled out. After the procedure, you may have some minor cramping.
Why the test is performedThe test can find chromosome problems such as:
Related categories• HEALTH AND DISEASE
• MEDICAL TESTS
Source: MedlinePlus, U.S. National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health
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