Amniocentesis - University of Minnesota Children's Hospital
 
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Amniocentesis

Amniocentesis is a prenatal test that helps you learn if a fetus has health problems. The test is most often done between week 15 and week 20 of pregnancy. Discuss with your doctor whether amniocentesis is right for you.

Pregnant woman lying on exam table under blankets. Part of her belly is exposed. Health care provider is holding ultrasound probe to woman's belly and watching monitor. Another health care provider is preparing to insert needle in woman's belly. Inset of cross section through abdomen shows baby inside, with ultrasound probe outside and needle going through skin into fluid in womb.

Should You Have Amniocentesis?

If the fetus has a higher than normal chance of birth defects or other problems, you may want to have this test. The following risk factors can increase chances of fetal health problems:

  • You’re 35 or older.

  • There’s a history of inherited (genetic) problems in your family.

  • Other tests have shown that the fetus may have health problems.

How Is Amniocentesis Done?

  • First, the fetus is located with ultrasound (sound waves that make an image on a screen).

  • A thin needle is then inserted into your belly. The doctor keeps the needle from touching the fetus by watching the screen.

  • The needle is used to remove a small amount of fluid from your womb. Your body will make more fluid to replace what was taken.

  • You can go home right after the test. But you may need to take it easy for a day or so.

When to Call Your Doctor

Call your doctor right away if you notice:

  • Severe pain or cramping

  • Vaginal bleeding (spotting)

  • Fever or chills

  • Fluid leaking from your vagina

Getting Test Results

You’ll learn your amniocentesis results in 2 weeks. Most results are normal. Even if yours aren’t, it doesn’t always mean there’s a problem. But this will depend on what your doctor is looking for with amniocentesis. You and your doctor can talk about other tests or special care you may want.

 

 
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