Learn More About Amniocentesis

Learn More About Amniocentesis

An amniocentesis, or amniotic fluid test (AFT), is a prenatal diagnostic procedure. This is not a routine test for all pregnant mothers. However, in certain situations an amniocentesis is necessary in order to further investigate the possibility of a genetic or chromosomal abnormality. Although an amniocentesis is considered an invasive procedure, it provides valuable information for the mother-to-be and carries low risk when performed by a skilled obstetrician.

When Is It Ordered?

An amniocentesis may be recommended if you have specific genetic concerns for your baby or if you’ve received abnormal triple test results. A triple screen test is a maternal blood test that screens for three specific substances: AFP, hCG, and Estriol. Abnormal levels of these substances may indicate a certain genetic disorder or chromosomal abnormality. Since the triple test is only a screening and carries a high rate of false positives, your physician may deem it necessary to gather more accurate information through an amniocentesis.

What Can You Expect?

Getting an amniocentesis can be unnerving for a mother-to-be. Rest assured that a skilled physician will use careful precision and put you and your baby at low risk for complications. It is only ordered when the benefits of the procedure far outweigh the risks.

An amniocentesis is typically performed between 15 and 20 weeks of pregnancy.  During the procedure, a long, thin and hollow needle will be inserted through the abdomen, the amniotic wall, and into the sac of fluid that surrounds your baby. A small amount of fluid (only an ounce) is extracted for further testing. The amniocentesis will generally last about 30 minutes and is done with the use of ultrasound guided technology.

If you are scheduled for an amniocentesis or have specific genetic concerns about your unborn baby, please contact the professionals at North Pointe Ob/Gyn Associates. We have a team of physicians who are highly trained in high-risk pregnancies, and we will do everything we can to maximize your comfort and put your mind at ease through the process of prenatal diagnostic testing.

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