What is Amniocentesis and procedure of test ?

Amniocentesis - Purpose, Procedure, Benefits, Risks, Cost, Test, Accuracy, Side effects & Result

Amniocentesis or Amino is a prenatal test that is performed to detect certain types of birth defects, neural tube defects, chromosomal abnormalities such as Down syndrome or Trisomy 21, and genetic disorders. It can also detect neural tube defects such as Spina Bifida and Anencephaly. 

Amniocentesis procedure and test

Amniocentesis purpose

The purpose of an Amniocentesis test is to diagnose any genetic disorder, chromosomal abnormalities in the baby. During pregnancy, the fetus is surrounded by a fluid called amniotic fluid which is a substance like water. This fluid contains live fetal cells and some other substances such as AFP (Alpha-Fetoprotein). All these substances are helpful in providing information about the baby's health before birth. This prenatal test is usually offered to those pregnant women who have a significant risk for any genetic disorders. Amniocentesis is an accurate way to find out the baby's gender before birth. 

Amniocentesis procedure

Before Amniocentesis procedure you'll receive genetic counseling regarding the risks and benefits of this procedure. An ultrasound is performed at the time of Amniocentesis. This ultrasound is helpful in detecting those birth defects such as Cleft lip, Cleft palate, Heart defects which are not detected by Amniocentesis. In this test, a small amount of amniotic fluid is taken from the sac which surrounded the fetus. Under the guidance of an ultrasound scan, a needle is inserted into the uterus through the woman's abdomen. The sample of the amniotic fluid is then sent to a lab for analysis. Different tests can be performed on this fluid to detect genetic disorders and birth defects. 

What happens during an Amniocentesis test?

An area of your abdomen is cleansed with an antiseptic. A local anesthetic (it is a pain-relieving medication) is given to reduce any discomfort. Your doctor will perform an ultrasound to find out the location of the placenta and position of the fetus. The doctor will insert a thin needle in your abdomen and uterus and into the amniotic sac, away from the baby under ultrasound guidance. A small amount of this amniotic fluid is removed through the needle and then sent to the lab for analysis. 

(Also read: What is IVF?)

Amniocentesis timing

This test is usually performed early in the second trimester of pregnancy. It is generally performed between the 15th to 18th weeks of pregnancy. An Amniocentesis test is also done during the third trimester of pregnancy. It is used to assess lung maturity of fetus or infection. The entire procedure takes about 30-45 minutes.

Amniocentesis benefits

  • It detects neural tube defects such as Spina Bifida.
  • It can detect Abdominal Wall Defects.
  • Amniocentesis is an accurate way of detecting genetic disorders in a fetus.

Amniocentesis risks

Yes, there are some risks that are associated with Amniocentesis but there are very rare chances of such risks to happen. Some of the Amniocentesis risks are :
  • There is a small risk of miscarriage. 
  • Infection
  • Injury to the mother or baby
  • Preterm Labor

Who needs to do an Amniocentesis test?

Genetic counseling is given to couples before doing the procedure. You can choose whether you want to have this procedure or not. But in some cases, your doctor will suggest you have this procedure. The amniocentesis test is recommended by your doctor in the following conditions :
  • A pregnant woman who has an abnormal ultrasound or abnormal lab screens.
  • A pregnant woman who already has a child or a previous pregnancy with a birth defect.

If the couple has a significant genetic risk then Amniocentesis can be used to detect the following genetic conditions in the growing baby :
  • Down syndrome
  • Cystic Fibrosis
  • Sickle Cell Disease
  • Tay-Sachs
  • Muscular dystrophy

After an Amniocentesis test

  • You may experience mild cramping or discomfort during the procedure or for a few hours after the procedure.
  • After this procedure, you can go home and need to take rest for the rest of the day.
  • Your doctor will suggest you avoid sexual intercourse for two or three days.
  • You don't have to perform any strenuous physical activity on that day.
  • Don't take any antibiotics for the first 24 hours after the procedure. 

Whenever your doctor suggests you can perform your normal activities after the procedure. If your doctor suggests you can take Tylenol to get relieved from cramping after an Amniocentesis procedure.

If you notice any of the following symptoms after an Amniocentesis test then immediately call your doctor:
  • Heavy Vaginal Bleeding
  • Severe Cramping
  • Fever
  • Severe Abdominal Pain
  • Contractions

Is an Amniocentesis test painful?

No, an amniocentesis test is not painful but you may feel discomfort during the procedure. 

Amniocentesis cost

The cost of an Amniocentesis test depends on where the test is being performed. The cost of the procedure usually depends on the lab, the doctor, and the tests which have to be performed. It usually costs around $1600.

Amniocentesis accuracy

The accuracy of Amniocentesis is 99.5%. 

Amniocentesis side effects

Some of the side effects of an Amniocentesis test are the following :
  • Cramps
  • Uterine Infection
  • Amniotic Fluid Leakage
  • Transfer of infection to your unborn baby.

Amniocentesis result

The results of the amniocentesis test are available within 2-3 weeks.

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Disclaimer: This content is intended for general information only and it should not be used as the basis of patient treatment. The given content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, treatment, or any diagnosis. Always consult a doctor for more information. Our website doesn't claim responsibility for this information.

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