Uterus1.com: Great Information, Real Community, Better Living.
 Register
 Login
 Main Page
 Uterus News
Feature Story
 Education Center

Conditions
Treatments
Diagnostics

Find a Physician
HTA in the News
 Heavy Periods Center
sharonbober  Uterus
 Hero™

Dr. Sharon Bober:
Healing the Sex Lives of Cancer Patients
About Heroes
 Join the Discussion in  Our Forums
 Community
Uterus1 Forums
Patient Stories
Frequently
    Asked Questions

One Question Poll
    Archive

 Reference
Locate a Specialist
Online Resources
Uterus Anatomy
Video Library
Menstrual Diary
Office Visits
Patient Brochures
  
advertisement
Search the Body1 Network
November 23, 2017  
EDUCATION CENTER: Diagnostics
  • Printer Friendly Version
  • Email this Diagnostic
  • Amniocentesis


    Overview:
    Reviewed by Richard Alweis, MD

    Amniocentesis is a test used to evaluate amniotic fluid, the fluid that fills the uterus during pregnancy, and determines the health and potential genetic abnormalities of the fetus.

    Detailed Information:
    During pregnancy, the fetus gestates within the uterus, in a special pouch called the amniotic sac. The amniotic sac is filled with amniotic fluid, a colorless fluid in which the fetus floats, suspended and protected inside the mother’s body. Amniotic fluid is made of a combination of water, protein, minerals and hormones, and it acts to both nourish and protect the fetus.

    Amniocentesis is a test that analyzes the composition of amniotic fluid and shed fetal cells within the fluid to determine the health of the fetus, and forecast any likely problems with the fetus and the pregnancy overall.

    Before performing the test, a woman’s doctor or health care giver will need to determine the position of the fetus using an ultrasound. Once the position of the fetus is determined, the abdomen is washed and disinfected with an antibacterial agent, then an area on the surface of the abdomen is numbed using local anesthesia. After the local anesthesia takes effect, a long, hollow needle is carefully inserted into the abdomen, positioned carefully so that any movement of the fetus will not be touched by the needle. The needle is used to draw off a sample of amniotic fluid, which is then analyzed.

    The analysis of amniotic fluid can identify a wide range of problems with either the pregnancy or the developing fetus. These include abnormal bleeding, infections, lack of sufficient amniotic fluid, and chemical or nutritional imbalances. The fluid can also be analyzed to test for a number of genetic, chromosomal, or birth defects and disorders, such as Down’s syndrome, spina bifida (a malformed spine), anencephaly (missing or incomplete brain), as well as many metabolic disorders. Parents can also find out the gender of the developing fetus. As early as 15 weeks of pregnancy, amniocentesis can be used to test for chromosomal or genetic disorders and birth defects. Amniocentesis is a low-risk procedure, but there is a small risk of fetal injury, and even a risk of miscarriage (0.5 percent). As a pregnancy progresses, the risk to the fetus becomes smaller.

    After the test, there may be slight soreness at the site where the needle was inserted, and some women notice cramping after the procedure or some mild vaginal bleeding/leakage of fluid, but others will notice no after effects. The procedure is done on an out-patient basis, with patients returning home the same day.

    Amniocentesis is usually reserved for women with specific characteristics (e.g., mothers over the age of 35) and is a successful test for ruling out a wide variety of medical problems and determining general fetal health, but patients who are concerned about particular problems – such as likelihood of specific birth defects or genetic disorders that run in their families – should speak with their doctor or a genetic counselor to determine the best way to diagnose and, if necessary, prepare themselves for special care or follow-up medical procedures.

    Last updated: 06-Jun-07


    Comments

  • Add Comment
  •  
    Interact on Uterus1

    Discuss this topic with others.
     
    Related Multimedia

    Interview with James Spies, M.D. about Treatments for Fibroids

    Treating Professional Athletes - Interview with Dr. Andrews

    Pregnancy after Fibroids Treatment

    More Features ...
     
    Related Content
    Serum Progesterone

    Tilted Uterus: an Obstacle to Pregnancy?

    Pregnancy Possible After UFE Procedure

    When Baby Doesn’t Make Three: Infertility and Mental Health

    What Moms Eat May Predispose Children to Illness

    More Features ...
     
    Home About Us Press Jobs Advertise With Us Contact Us
    advertisement
    © 2017 Body1 All rights reserved.
    Disclaimer: The information provided within this website is for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for consultation with your physician or healthcare provider. The opinions expressed herein are not necessarily those of the Owners and Sponsors of this site. By using this site you agree to indemnify, and hold the Owners and Sponsors harmless, from any disputes arising from content posted here-in.