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Amniocentesis as a procedure

This medical procedure plays a very important part inprenatal diagnosis, particularly when it is necessary to determine the baby’shealth and if there are any chromosomal abnormalities or fetal infections. Duringthis procedure, a very small amount of amniotic fluid is taken from the uterus,and since this fluid contains also fetal cells and tissues, it is possible toperform all the necessary tests. This way it can also be determined whether or notthe baby’s lungs are mature enough, but with the help of this method it is alsopossible to decrease the volume of amniotic fluid, although this is reallyrarely necessary. The procedure is not necessarily performed under the localanesthesia, but a physician will need ultrasound-guidance to perform amniocentesis.This procedure is done between the 15th and 20th week, andstatistics say that about 6% of women take this test. However, maturityamniocentesis is performed later, when it is evaluated that earlier delivery isthe best solution for the mother.

After the procedure, the mother is recommended to rest, and thebaby’s heart rate is monitored. It is important to know that a small amount ofbleeding is not a reason for concern, and neither is cramping. The punctureusually heals in the period of 24 or 48 hours, and the woman may go back to hernormal life and everyday activities the very next day. The results may be availableafter a few days or two weeks top, depending on the reason why the procedurewas done, while the results of maturity amniocentesis are available after a fewhours.

What are the risks associated with this procedure?

Even though this medical procedure is very helpful, thereare some risks involved and every woman who is considering this possibilityshould be aware of them. Possible complications vary from those that includethe infection of the amniotic sac, improper healing of the puncture that mayresult in infection or leakage, to the most serious ones - those that result in miscarriage. This procedurealso carries certain amount of risk of preterm labor and delivery, fetaltrauma, respiratory distress, cramping or vaginal bleeding, but it is importantto know also that these complications happen rarely. According to someresearches, the risk of miscarriage is even lower than it used to be, and itoccurs approximately in one of six hundred women. However, it is a bit higherif the procedure is done before the 15th week.

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