Pregnancy can seem like a whirlwind at times. There are so many appointments and bodily changes that are occuring all of the time. Your prenatal care provider may be laying quite a bit of information on you. And one thing will likely be prenatal testing if it hasn’t already come up. With any medical procedure there are plenty of considerations to make, so be sure to consider the risks and benefits of amniocentesis before making your decision.
What is Amniocentesis?
Amniocentesis is a prenatal diagnostic procedure. It is typically done in an outpatient facility. Your healthcare provider will use ultrasound to locate your baby. Once it is clear that baby is safe, a thin hollow needle will be inserted into your abdomen into your uterus, and a small amount of your amniotic fluid will be removed. The amount taken will vary according to the progression of your pregnancy. Once the needle has been removed, your baby’s heart rate and movement will be monitored for a short period of time to ensure that things are still going well in your womb.
Your amniotic fluid will be tested and analyzed in the upcoming days. Genetic testing looks for genetic and chromosomal abnormalities like Down syndrome. A fetal lung amniocentesis looks for the maturity level of your baby’s lungs. This is usually done when a premature birth is unavoidable. An amniocentesis can also be used to determine paternity, reveal an infection or illness in your baby or to remove excess amniotic fluid.
Benefits of Amniocentesis
Having this procedure done can be very helpful in assessing preliminary findings more deeply. If you have abnormal ultrasound findings or positive results from a prenatal screening test you may be strongly encouraged to have an amniocentesis done or another more telling test to confirm or rule out a specific condition, illness or diagnosis.
If you have previously had a pregnancy involving chromosomal abnormalities like a neural tube defect, you may find peace of mind in this procedure as it can rule out these possibilities. Likewise, if you or your partner have a family history of genetic condition, then amniocentesis can identify it early on. That way you can make decisions about future care and other plans. Amniocentesis is also recommended for older moms.
Risks Associated with Amniocentesis
I don’t think there is a medical procedure that does not have its risks. Things can happen when we remove a bandage, so there are some risks that are associated with amniocentesis. Some of these risks include the leaking of amniotic fluid, miscarriage, infection, Rh sensitization, needle injury and infection transmission. Usually an amniocentesis goes on with no major complications. But things do occasionally happen.
According to some obstetricians, the risk of miscarriage is negligible, less than one per cent. You’re more likely to experience spotting or cramping after amniocentesis. Sometimes there is pelvic discomfort, but most women can resume normal activity afterwards, although it is advised that you refrain from strenuous activity for a day or two.
Amniocentesis is usually not necessary, but if you feel that you are a good candidate for it, talk to your helath care provider about it and proceed with careful consideration. There may be less invasive options to handle your concerns.
CANDY TAI is a wife to David and mom of 5 with a degree in Communications. She's a native Texan (Hook 'Em Horns!) who's been making her home in the Kansas City metro area for nearly 15 years. She loves being able to shuffle her kids from their various sports activities, piano lessons, and school activities. She enjoys fashion, beauty, reality TV, and moviegoing.