Amniocentesis: Everything You Need to Know About it

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Prenatal testing is a big decision for many parents-to-be. It can help ease fears and give you information about your baby’s health, but it can also be a lot to think about. One of the most common tests is amniocentesis, and it’s essential to know all the facts before making a decision. In this blog post, we’ll explore everything you need to know about amniocentesis, from how it’s performed to what it can test for. We’ll also dispel some myths about the procedure so that you can make an informed decision about whether or not it’s right for you.

What is Amniocentesis?

Amniocentesis is a prenatal test that can detect certain birth defects in a developing baby. The test is usually done during the second trimester of pregnancy, between weeks 15 and 20. Amniocentesis is a procedure that examines the fluid that surrounds and protects the foetus inside the uterus.

Amniocentesis can detect chromosomal abnormalities such as Down syndrome and neural tube defects such as spina bifida. The test can also tell if a baby is Rh-positive or Rh-negative, which is essential information for mothers who are Rh-negative and pregnant with an Rh-positive baby (this can lead to complications).

Who gets Amniocentesis?

Amniocentesis is a test that can be performed during pregnancy to determine if the developing baby has any genetic abnormalities. The test is usually recommended for women who are 35 years of age or older, as they have a higher risk of having a child with a genetic disorder. Other women who may be recommended to have amniocentesis include those who have had a previous child with a genetic disorder, those who have certain medical conditions that put them at risk for having a child with a genetic disorder, and those who have had an abnormal result on an ultrasound.

What does Amniocentesis test for?

Embryonic skin cells found in amniotic fluid can be utilised to detect chromosomal abnormalities like Down syndrome (trisomy 21). Alpha-fetoprotein, a molecule made by the foetus, is also present in amniotic fluid. Foetal alpha-fetoprotein levels may also be an indicator of spinal and other health issues.

When is Amniocentesis Performed?

Between 15 and 20 weeks of pregnancy is when most amniocentesis procedures are performed (during the second trimester of pregnancy). There is an increased risk of miscarriage if amniocentesis is performed before 20 weeks.

Later in some pregnancies, doctors may opt to undergo an amniocentesis. During the third trimester, if your doctor decides to perform this test to evaluate lung maturation in the foetus or to manage polyhydramnios, you will most likely have the procedure.

What is the Procedure for Amniocentesis?

A foetal ultrasound is first performed (sound waves that make an image on a screen). It is common to inject a local anaesthetic into the skin before inserting a tiny needle into the belly. By keeping one eye on the screen, the doctor can avoid accidentally poking the foetus with the needle. The amniotic fluid surrounding the embryo is aspirated using a needle. When you lose fluid, your body produces more to make up for it.

Immediately following an amniocentesis, you may notice minor pain (like period pain) or light vaginal bleeding (spotting). You’re welcome to go home immediately following the exam, but you should probably take it easy for the next day or two.

What are the Risks of Amniocentesis?

It’s generally considered to be a safe procedure, but like all medical procedures, there are some risks involved. These include:

  • Infection: There is a small risk of infection after the procedure, which can be treated with antibiotics. 
  • Bleeding: There is also a small risk of bleeding after the procedure, which usually resolves on its own.
  • Rupture of membranes: In very rare cases, the amniocentesis needle can cause the membranes around the baby to rupture. This can lead to preterm labor.

The risks of amniocentesis are minimal, but as with any medical procedure, there are some potential complications. Overall, amniocentesis is a safe and effective way to test for genetic abnormalities in a developing baby.

Getting the Test Results

Your baby is unlikely to have any genetic or chromosomal problems if the findings of your amniocentesis are normal. With a normal outcome from a maturity amniocentesis, you can rest easy knowing that your baby is healthy and ready to be born.

The presence of aberrant results may indicate the presence of a genetic disorder or chromosomal abnormalities. That said, it’s not an ironclad rule. There is always the option of doing more diagnostic tests.

How Much Does An Amniocentesis Cost?

Amniocentesis costs can range from free to several thousand dollars, depending on where you live and if you have health insurance. Amniocentesis is usually covered in full or in part by insurance, but you should check with your provider to make sure.

You will have to foot the bill for an amniocentesis if you do not have insurance or if your plan does not cover the procedure. The cost of amniocentesis and any available financing options can be discussed in greater detail at your obstetrician’s office.

Amniocentesis is a safe and reliable way to test for chromosomal abnormalities and genetic disorders in unborn babies. If you are considering having this procedure done, be sure to contact KJK Hospital, best maternity hospital in Trivandrum to learn about all of the risks and benefits involved. We hope that this article has provided you with everything you need to know about amniocentesis, from how it’s performed to what it can test for to make an informed decision.

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