<strong>Amniocentesis: Symptoms, Risk, Complications And Treatment</strong>

Amniocentesis: Symptoms, Risk, Complications And Treatment

18 Jan 2023 | 5 min Read

Nidhi Pandey

Author | 47 Articles

During pregnany, the foetus develops inside the amniotic sac. The foetus is enclosed and shielded by amniotic fluid inside the amniotic sac. It also includes some of the foetus cells. These cells hold genetic data that aids in the identification of hereditary disorders. There are many tests conducted throughout your pregancy journey, one of the crucial one being amniocentesis. But what is amniocentesis and what does it tell you about your pregnancy? Let’s find out all the details in this article, including its symptoms, risks, and complications.

What Is Amniocentesis?

If we have to define amniocentesis, then it is a prenatal testing procedure that is typically carried out in the second or third trimester of your pregnancy. It can identify several genetic or chromosomal disorders, including Down syndrome (such as cystic fibrosis).

How Is Amniocentesis Performed?

Your doctor will do an amniocentesis test, where they will take a small sample of amniotic fluid from the sac around the foetus. The fluid sample is then examined in a lab, where they examine the fetus cells that hold crucial genetic data that aid in the identification of genetic disorders.

When Is Amniocentesis Performed?

Most of the amniocentesis tests are held between 15 and 20 weeks of pregnancy (during the second trimester of pregnancy). It can also be performed during your third trimester of pregnancy.

What Does An Amniocentesis Tell About Your Pregnancy

  • The test helps determine fetal anamolies
  • It also checks for a chromosomal disease through prenatal screening test
  • It helps determine genetic diseases like sickle cell disease or cystic fibrosis
  • It helps check for chromosomal abnormality in women over the age of 35

What Genetic Diseases Does An Amniocentesis Test Look For?

An amniocentesis test can identify chromosomal, genetic, congenital abnormalities or disabilities, sometimes known as birth defects, including:

  • Down syndrome
  • Tay-Sachs illness
  • Spina bifida and other neural tube anomalies, such as anencephaly

This examination can also assess:

  • Foetal lung development: This is beneficial if you have to deliver the baby sooner than intended to save your or your baby’s health.
  • Rh Disease: If you and the foetus have different blood types, you may suffer from the potentially deadly condition known as Rh disease.

In some cases, conditions like polyhydramnios is treated by amniocentesis (when you have too much amniotic fluid). Amniocentesis is used by doctors to drain extra fluid.

How Do Doctors Perform Amniocentesis?

The procedure is carried out by your perinatologist or obstetrician. You will initially lay on your back with your stomach exposed. The following will be done by your healthcare provider:

  • Application of an antiseptic to a small area of your tummy (to kill germs).
  • Application of a unique gel on your stomach.
  • Use of a wand-like instrument that is moved over the gel to record ultrasound images of the foetus and displayed on a nearby monitor.
  • Then your doctor will pass a tiny, hollow needle through your uterus and abdomen (into the amniotic sac but away from the foetus).
  • Through the needle, a little fluid is removed.
  • Throughout the procedure, the doctor will keep an eye at the ultrasound to ensure that there is no impact on the fetal heartbeat and movement.

Your doctor then sends a sample of amniotic fluid to a lab after the procedure. The foetal cells are taken out of the amniotic fluid and examined. Before being examined for genetic disorders or neural tube anomalies, the cells grow for many days in the lab. Complete test results are mostly available in around two weeks.


How Long Does Amniocentesis Take?

It takes around 30 minutes to finish.

Amniocentesis Risks

Amniocentesis technique in general is safe. But there are minor but significant dangers associated with amniocentesis for both you and the foetus such as:

  • Cramping, bleeding or amniotic fluid leakage
  • A wound or an infection
  • Pregnancy loss
  • Preterm delivery

Amniocentesis complications are quite uncommon.

How Accurate Is An Amniocentesis Test ?

Amniocentesis has a detection accuracy of roughly 99% for abnormalities. It does not gauge how serious the condition is. But in rare instances, various variables (such as failing to collect enough fluid during the test) may prevent the lab from performing the intended analysis on the amniotic fluid. However, this is unusual.

When Can You Expect An Amniocentesis Test Result?

You can expect the result within 3-4 days of the test. 

When Should You Call A Doctor?

If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor right away.

  • Fever
  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Vaginal discharge
  • Moderate to severe stomach discomfort

Amniocentesis Test Cost

Amniocentesis test cost ranges between Rs. 8,000 to Rs. 12,000 in India.

Difference Between Amniocentesis & Chorionic Villus Sampling

During pregnancy, Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS) is another test used to identify genetic disorders. A few placental cells are sampled for CVS testing (the organ that supplies the foetus with food and oxygen). At 10 to 13 weeks of pregnancy, a CVS is carried out. After 15 weeks, an amniocentesis is performed. Additionally, neural tube problems can be tested via amniocentesis, although CVS cannot identify these diseases.

Cover Image Credit: Freepik.com



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