Amniocentesis is not routinely offered to all pregnant women because the test carries a small risk of infection or miscarriage. Amniocentesis is offered when there is an increased risk of chromosomal or genetic birth defects.

Amniocentesis may be offered to you for the following reasons:

  • Age
  • Previous child or pregnancy with a birth defect
  • Fetus with a suspected neural tube defect
  • An abnormal Integrated, Quad or AFP test
  • Other family history

Amniocentesis is a simple medical procedure used to obtain a small sample of amniotic fluid surrounding the fetus. Amnio is often used in the second trimester of pregnancy to diagnose, or more likely, rule out certain birth defects.

Another prenatal test called chorionic villus sampling (CVS) can diagnose most, but not all, of the same defects as amniocentesis. CVS is done earlier in pregnancy than amniocentesis (usually between 10-12 weeks), but appears to have a slightly higher risk of miscarriage and other complications. We do not offer CVS through our office.

In our office genetic amniocentesis is usually done after 15 weeks gestation. Amniocentesis is performed by using ultrasound to see exactly where the fetus and placenta are located, allowing the doctor to choose the safest spot for inserting the needle. The abdomen is cleansed and the doctor inserts a thin needle through the abdomen and into the uterus where a very small amount of amniotic
fluid is withdrawn.  Some women say amniocentesis does not hurt at all while others say they feel cramping, like a menstrual cramp, when the procedure is
performed. 

If you do have an amniocentesis performed, we recommend that you take it easy for the remainder of the day and if you work to take the rest of the day off.

Results of amniocentesis usually take about 2-3 weeks.  Our office will call you directly with your results as soon as they are received. Your referring doctor will then receive a copy of the report for your chart.