When talking about pregnancy testing, a lot of people have in mind the amniocentesis procedure.
This is a kind of chromosomal testing that is usually done during weeks 16-20 of pregnancy.
The test is done using amniotic fluid because this contains the cells that the baby sheds through a natural process.
Information about amniocentesis testing
In order to get the test done, the cells and proteins are analyzed in a laboratory setting to find whether the baby has chromosomal abnormalities. Another substance that the specialists can measure is alpha-fetoprotein. The entire procedure lasts for about 45 minutes and you also have a detailed ultrasound.
Who needs the amniocentesis testing?
Usually the procedure is offered for women over 35 and also to couples that have another child or other family member with some kind of chromosomal abnormality.
Also you should have the test in case you had positive screening test results.
Amniocentesis procedure is usually an option if one of the parents has a chromosomal rearrangement.
The couples with high risk of having a child with genetic disease may also consider having the test or in case they had a previous child with neural tube defect.
How to prepare for the appointment?
If you have decided that you want to have amniocentesis test, your doctor will tell you how much water you should drink before the test.
Usually it is required for women to have a full bladder. It is important for you not to take aspirin about five days before the procedure and there are also some other medications that you shouldn’t take.
What to expect?
During an amniocentesis procedure, the first thing that the doctor does is to perform a detailed ultrasound.
This lasts about 30 minutes. This way the doctor verifies the date of the pregnancy and also looks for signs of birth defects. He or she makes an evaluation of the amniotic fluid levels and checks the placenta.
After this, as part of the amniocentesis testing the doctor chooses an area of the amniotic fluid to test. Then the doctor inserts a needle into the uterus and collects a small amount of amniotic fluid. This takes only 1-2 minutes.
Are you supposed to feel any discomfort?
The truth about the amniocentesis procedure is that the majority of women experience a reduced level of discomfort and it is also possible to experience some cramping after the procedure. Normally this goes away after a short period of time.
When it comes to the amniocentesis testing, some women say that they feel some soreness in the place where the needle was inserted. This may go away on its own after a couple of hours, but it is also possible that it lasts for a couple of days, so you shouldn’t get alarmed.
What to expect after the procedure?
The best thing you could do after the amniocentesis procedure is to go home and rest for a couple of hours. Your doctor will tell you exactly what to do. You are allowed to drive after the procedure. In the majority of the cases, the patients go on with their regular activities 3 days after the procedure.
Nonetheless there are some limitations after the amniocentesis testing. Women shouldn’t be lifting heavier weights for a day, they shouldn’t be working out, air travel isn’t advisable for the following period and also they shouldn’t have intercourse for three days.
As you can see amniocentesis procedure isn’t something you should be afraid of. Think of it as a procedure that is meant to offer you the answers you were looking for regarding the baby.