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Amniocentesis Test

All About Amniocentesis Test in Pregnancy| Shree IVF Clinic - Dr. Jay Mehta

What is Amniocentesis?

Amniocentesis is a procedure in which the doctor removes an amount of amniotic fluid from the woman’s uterus. A long and thin needle helps to collect the little amniotic fluid from the uterus. Doctors do not remove more than 1 ounce of amniotic fluid. The second trimester is the perfect time for amniocentesis. This helps to determine whether the baby’s lungs are functioning well or not and If they will survive outside the womb. The results of the tests can help to make vital decisions about pregnancy and Delivery.

Everything You Need to Know About Amniocentesis

Purpose | Procedure | Risk and complications | Alternatives | Preparation | Accuracy | Recovery | Cost

Why amniocentesis is done?

Doctors refer to amniocentesis in the second and third trimester of pregnancy when the noninvasive parental testing result is abnormal. Pregnant women above the age of 35 are perfect for the procedure.  Doctors identify genetic disorders or certain types of birth defects such as Down syndrome which is a mental deficiency, and spine Bifida and other health issues during pregnancy with the help of amniocentesis.

Although noninvasive parental testing is one of the easiest and preferable ways to identify genetic disorders, sometimes it is not enough.  Doctors may recommend amniocentesis or CVS for more accurate results if the NIPT report is positive.

It is a prenatal diagnostic test because it gives much more assurance than any other traditional form of screening. It is one of the tests to detect genetic disorders with 99.9% accuracy. Local anesthesia helps to conduct the procedure.

If the blood level of the mother is unusual, doctors suggest amniocentesis.  It can also detect infection in the fetus.

How is amniocentesis is performed?

In general, the common procedure for an amniocentesis test is as follows:

  • The patient needs to undress completely, or from the waist down, and must wear a hospital gown.
  • Nextly she has to lie down on an exam table. Doctors will tell the correct posture of lying and hands to need to be behind your head.
  • Doctors will conduct checking of blood pressure, heart rate, and rate of breathing.
  • After that, an ultrasound will help to measure the heart rate of the fetus as well as recognizing the position of the placenta, fetus, and umbilical cord, and to find a pocket of amniotic fluid.
  • Further, the cleaning of the abdomen area will happen with an antiseptic to check for entering entranceathogens and one should not touch the sterile area once after the cleaning during the procedure.
  • Injecting of a needle stick. This may cause stinging for a moment.
  • An ultrasound helps guide a long, thin, hollow needle through your skin layer, into the uterus, and the amniotic sac. You may feel some pain during this procedure as well as some cramping while the needle is entering the uterus.

A small amount of amniotic fluid will be withdrawn by doctors into a syringe. The amount of amniotic fluid depends on the type of testing, but usually, not more than the elimination of an ounce. Your body will automatically regenerate the fluid to replace the amount taken out.You may feel a certain feeling of pain during the removal of fluid.

  • Finally, doctors will remove the needle.

The amniotic fluid will be fetched into a special light-protected tube and will be sent to a lab for determination. After the needle is removed, again there will be a check-up of the fetus’ heart rate and vital signs.

Risk and complications of amniocentesis procedure

The initiative of the procedure of amniocentesis is for the better management of pregnancy. The mother should be well aware and informed of the possible risks and complications under the guidance of the respective doctor.

  • It carries a minimum risk of miscarriage during the second trimester. Amniocentesis done before 15 weeks of pregnancy seems to create a higher rate of risk of miscarriage in pregnancy.
  • Although the doctor follows an ultrasound image, needle injuries are rare but there are chances of injury sometimes. The baby can move a leg or an arm in the path of the needle during amniocentesis causing major injury. It can damage the body organs of the fetus sometimes.
  • Cramps, though it is very normal and it is not a matter of worry
  • A small amount of vaginal bleeding sometimes also includes amniotic fluid that leaks out of the body
  • Infection in the uterine- Amniocentesis can cause infections

It is very infrequent that the test may cause some of your fetus blood cells to enter your bloodstream. Thus, it is important because there is a type of protein, the Rh factor, or the rhesus factor. If you have this protein present on the outer surface of red blood cells or RBC, your blood is Rh-positive, and due to the absence of this protein is Rh-negative.

What are the alternatives to amniocentesis?

Chorionic villus sampling or CVS is a test that is a substitution for amniocentesis.  This is generally performed during the 11th and 14th weeks of the pregnancy. A narrow tube through the cervix or by passing a needle through the abdomen helps to do the procedure.  It has a reputation for being 100% accurate similar to amniocentesis.

When doctors carry out CVS at less than eight weeks of pregnancy, it may create complications by the needle obstructing the blood flow to the fetus. Thus, sometimes it is slightly riskier than amniocentesis.

Another alternative is a noninvasive test that is the second-trimester blood test or triple screen. It detects the level of three types of proteins that are unusually high or low in the fetus with a serious development disorder known as trisomy 18 and Down syndrome.

Free cell fetus DNA testing is another alternative to amniocentesis where doctors collect the blood sample of the mother and bits of fetal DNA that have leakage into the bloodstream. Doctors further conduct examinations. Women with a higher risk of advanced maternal age are perfect for this test.

People generally prefer such testing over amniocentesis and Chorionic villus sampling or CVS because of the major risk of miscarriage related to that.

Preparing for amniocentesis

You can ask your physician to brief you about the entire procedure and can clear further doubts. The need for approval by the pregnant couple is a must before performing a test thus one needs to sign respective forms. The form should be thoroughly and carefully read before signing and if there are any doubts one must clarify if required.

In general, no special limits on diet or activity before an amniocentesis is set. But a pregnant mother should always be on a healthy diet.

You need to consult a doctor if there is any problem regarding the following:–

  • Any allergic reaction to medicines or anesthesia
  • One must take special care of the type of supplements that you are taking during your pregnancy period
  • If you have any previous record of a bleeding disorder or if you are taking any drugs for blood-thinning or any medicine related to blood clotting. You might need to discuss these medications with the doctor. Only when the doctor suggests one needs to stop taking the medications before the amniocentesis procedure.
  • While the amniocentesis procedure is being perfect, blood cells from the mother and fetus can too often mix leading to Rh sensitivity. And resulting in the breakdown of the fetal red blood corpuscles.
  • Preferably doctors perform the test in an empty bladder

These are the most common preparations a patient needs during an amniocentesis test. Always consulting your physician is the best choice.

How accurate is the amniocentesis test?

The rate of accuracy for amniocentesis is about 99.4%. Very rare the results of amniocentesis can be inaccurate due to some technical issues such as failure to grow the collected cells when cultured or collect the very little amount of amniotic fluids.

Recovering after amniocentesis

Sometimes in many special cases after performing the test doctors keep the patients under observation for more than 23 hours. Some may feel cramping during or after the course of action. Lighthead, dizziness, or nausea are common body reactions.

They do not need to be worried unless it happens for a long time. Most doctors prefer resting on the left side. If the discharge of the patient is on the day of the test, try to rest at home. Avoid arduous activities for at least 24 hours, or as the physician suggests.

If any one of the leading problems arises one must call for a doctor immediately. Some of them are sudden blood flow from the vagina, fever or severe chills, acute stomach pain, and/or cramping. There can also be sudden changes in the activity level of your fetus.

One should take instructions from health care providers on a serious note moreover for better recovery. One should follow all the advice of the physician.

Cost for amniocentesis

In India, the amniocentesis test is quite a bit expensive. Depending on the institute, technician, and all the lab machines used, the price for the test can vary. Approximately the minimal range starts from Rs.7000, whereas the maximal range can be till Rs.18,000.

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Dr. Jay Mehta Fertility and IVF Specialist In Mumbai

Dr. Jay Mehta

Fertility and IVF Specialist


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Dr. Jay Mehta is the Scientific Director of Shree IVF Clinic. He is a well-known Fertility and IVF Specialist and also among few doctors in the country who specializes in Embryology and Andrology.

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