Amniocentesis is a serious diagnostic test that is performed during pregnancy. It is used to detect possible chromosomal abnormalities in the unborn baby that can cause Down syndrome or other congenital problems.
This procedure takes a sample of amniotic fluid surrounding the fetus and analyzes it. This test is performed from the fifteenth week of pregnancy onwards.
When is amniocentesis performed?
Amniocentesis is performed during pregnancy when:
- It is thought that there is an increased risk due to blood tests that measure the level of pregnancy hormones in the blood. By combining these results with the mother’s age, it is possible to calculate the child’s risk of developing the Down syndrome.
- A woman is considered to be at increased risk of giving birth to a child with a chromosomal abnormality if such a disorder existed in a previous pregnancy
- ultrasound examination reveals features or abnormalities that indicate an increased risk of chromosomal abnormality
- the woman requests because she is worried that the child might have some chromosomal abnormality
- amniocentesis is sometimes required in the diagnosis and treatment of some conditions such as Rh factor incompatibility. Some other substances are sought in the amniotic fluid in these circumstances, and no chromosome analysis is performed.
How is amniocentesis performed?
An ultrasound probe is used as a guide, and a fine needle is inserted through the mother’s abdominal cavity to the fluid surrounding the fetus. About 20mL of amniotic fluid is taken and sent to the laboratory for analysis. The search usually takes about 5-10 minutes, and the mother usually feels only slight discomfort. The fetus is not aware of this procedure.
After this diagnostic procedure, the mother should rest for one day. He may feel slight cramps. Bleeding and leakage of fluid from the vagina is not normal, and the woman should seek medical attention in this case.
If she is a mother, Rh-negative (which is almost 8% of women) will receive an injection of human anti-D immunoglobulin into the arm or leg muscle. Anti-D immunoglobulin is given to an Rh-negative mother when she is potentially exposed to Rh-positive blood cells, for example, during childbirth, abortion, or amniocentesis. Its purpose is to prevent the development of antibodies against fetal blood cells, which can cause severe jaundice or even fetal death.
How long does it take to wait for amniocentesis results?
Preliminary results may be available after 48 hours, and final results are usually ready after 2-3 weeks.
Is amniocentesis safe for mother and child?
Amniocentesis is not without risk, and there is little possibility of miscarriage. A miscarriage will occur between 1 in 100 and 1 in 200 procedures, usually 3 weeks after the procedure.
Before deciding to have the procedure, the mother should discuss everything that bothers her about the procedure with her obstetrician. You should weigh the importance of fetal chromosome information and the risk of miscarriage.
How reliable are the results of amniocentesis?
Very few things in life can be claimed with 100% certainty. Amniocentesis is very close to 100 percent certainty in detecting chromosomal abnormalities.
What if amniocentesis reveals chromosomal abnormalities?
There is no cure for chromosomal abnormalities. If the diagnosis is made before birth, and depending on the type of abnormality detected, the woman has suggested an induced abortion.
The final decision on withholding pregnancy or abortion is up to the parents.
Before performing amniocentesis, it is important to develop awareness among parents when expecting results, what the results can bring, and to think in advance about the desire to keep the pregnancy.