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Amniocentesis Tests: What to Expect

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If you don't know what an amniocentesis test is, you may not know if your doctor will recommend one. Learn all about how an amniocentesis test can let you know if you're having a healthy pregnancy.

You may be offered an amniocentesis test if earlier screening tests show that your baby has a high risk of a problem or if your family history indicates you are at risk of certain genetic issues.

What Is an Amniocentesis Test?

The procedure tests for a number of rare chromosome anomalies, including Down Syndrome. During the test, your healthcare provider will insert a needle through your belly, into your uterus to take a small sample of the amniotic fluid.

An ultrasound is used to make sure that the needle doesn't come into contact with the baby. After the procedure is over, your healthcare provider will monitor your baby's heart rate to make sure that everything is okay. Once it's determined that the baby is well, you'll be sent home to rest for 24 hours.

The cells from the amniotic fluid are then cultured so that the chromosomes can be tested. These results will reveal any chromosome problems. The results of a Down Syndrome test are available in just a few days, but other results can take two weeks or more.

Are There Any Risks to a Healthy Pregnancy?

An amniocentesis test does have a slight risk of miscarriage. This risk is around 1%, and while it's low, some parents choose not to have the test done.

After an Amniocentesis Test

If your amniocentesis reveals a chromosome anomaly, it's important to go over the results with your healthcare provider.

If the test reveals something is wrong with your baby, talk with your healthcare provider, your family, friends, and maybe a trusted advisor about your options. There are also organizations that can support you, no matter what your decision is.  

 
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