What dies amniocentesis mean

‘I am pregnant at the moment and I have been told that I should have an amniocentesis. I have read a lot about this and am a bit worried. Do you have any information?’

It can be a big decision to make. Amniocentesis is normally done between 15-20 weeks of pregnancy. A needle is used to take a sample of the amniotic fluid which surrounds the baby in the womb and then analysed to check there is no abnormality or serious medical condition which may affect the baby. It checks for spina bifida, genetic abnormalities and Down’s syndrome. If you are an older mum (>35yrs), have any medical history or family history of genetic abnormalities, you may be offered the test. As with any test, there are potential complications, like a 1% risk of miscarriage, infection or Rhesus disease and may not be able to exclude every problem. Counselling about the risks and benefits of having the test is the key here, so you can make an informed decision.

Dr Radha Modgil

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