Our OB-GYN doctors and nurses offer prenatal testing that includes amniocentesis. The test looks at the amniotic fluid that surrounds the fetus. It gives information on the health of the unborn baby.
What is amniocentesis?
Amniocentesis is a prenatal test that takes a sample of the fluid surrounding the fetus. A thin needle is guided by ultrasound and inserted through the abdomen to remove a small amount of amniotic fluid for testing. The fluid is sent to a lab for tests, which can show if a baby is likely to have birth defects.
Testing for genetic diseases
Amniocentesis is usually done for women whose babies have a risk of certain genetic diseases. Women who have an amniocentesis may have:
An inherited risk or family history of certain birth defects;
Have a child already with birth defects;
Have had past problems in pregnancy;
Have an abnormal ultrasound and need further testing.
Amniocentesis can be used to detect the following conditions, if the parents have a genetic risk:
Sickle cell disease
Amniocentesis also is done to tell if the baby’s lungs are mature enough for birth. It also may be done to diagnose a fetal infection.
Should I have amniocentesis?
Amniocentesis is not for everyone. Talk with your healthcare provider about it. Amniocentesis carries some risks that include:
The decision to have amniocentesis is up to the patient. Your doctor and a genetic counselor can provide guidance and helpful information.