Learn What Is Amniocentesis?

A lot of pregnant women ask about amniocentesis procedure as they want to know what is amniocentesis. This is a procedure during which the doctors draw a small sample of the amniotic fluid from the uterus of the women to test for given defects of the baby like fetal infections, genetic defects, Rh sensitization or fetal lung immunity.

What Is Amniocentesis

Information about the amniocentesis procedure

The name of the procedure actually means the amnion’s puncture. This is the sac filled with fluid that surrounds the fetus. During the procedure there is a needle inserted into the amniotic sac through the belly of the mother and a small amount of it is removed for testing.

The fluid for the procedure of amniocentesis is produced by the kidneys and lungs of the fetus as well as by the umbilical cord and it contains the skin cells of the fetus and different kinds of biochemical substances produced by the fetus. The sample is sent to a laboratory where it is analyzed and tested.

Does it hurt?

When asking about the amniocentesis process a lot of women like to know whether it hurts or not. It is possible to experience some pain. A day after the procedure women usually experience some cramping, something like the menstrual cramps.

There shouldn’t be high levels of pain associated to the process of amniocentesis. If you happen to notice fever, bleeding, or a leak of the amniotic fluid after the procedure, you should make sure to call your health care provider and get checked up to make sure that everything is fine.

What can the result of amniocentesis be?

You should know about the test that there are two distinct kinds of tests that can be performed to find possible problems of the fetus: genetic amniocentesis and chemical testing. The cells that can be found in the amniotic fluid can be used to check for chromosomal abnormalities.

Genetic amniocentesis

The need for this kind of amniocentesis testing can result from family history of abnormalities, the age of the parents, ultrasound results or problems found during the blood tests of the mother. For this test the cells collected during the testing are allowed to grow and divide in a laboratory setting.

After this, as part of the testing of amniocentesis, the chromosomes are dyed and observed under a microscope. Normally there are 46 chromosomes in 23 pairs. One of the most common problems is the Down syndrome. This is also known as trisomy and it means that the baby has an extra chromosome.

There are some other trisomy problems that can be detected as well during the amniocentesis test and these include Edward’s syndrome and Patau’s syndrome. Sex chromosome abnormalities can also be found, such as Turner syndrome. In these cases there is an extra X or Y chromosome.

Chemical tests

This kind of procedure checks the presence of alpha-fetoprotein. This shows whether there is an abnormality of the abdominal wall or to the spine of the baby.

The amniocentesis results can reveal a lot.


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