During the time of pregnancy, the fetus is carefully enveloped by the amniotic fluid which is a substance that is similar to water. The amniotic fluid consists of live fetal cells as well as other substances like the AFP or alpha-fetoprotein which are substances that supply vital details about the health of your baby even before birth.

What is Amniocentesis?

If you have been wondering what an Amniocentesis is, it is actually a prenatal test allowing your healthcare specialist to easily acquire details regarding your child’s health by taking a specimen of your amniotic fluid. The specimen – which is less than an ounce – is extracted by using a very fine needle that will be inserted into your uterus. This will carefully go through your abdomen with the help of an ultrasound which will be the doctor’s guide during the whole process.

However, you should keep in mind that Amniocentesis is not suitable for everyone and your healthcare specialist may even discourage the procedure if he or she finds that you have an infection or disease such as HIV or AIDS, Hepatitis B and even Hepatitis C. The reason for this is because these can easily be transferred to the child during the process of Amniocentesis.

Why is the Process of Amniocentesis Necessary?

The process of Amniocentesis is usually done when a woman has already reached the stage of being pregnant for sixteen to twenty weeks; and although every pregnant woman should be given the choice of undergoing an Amniocentesis, women who usually opt for this test are those who have increased risks of genetic and chromosomal issues. This is because Amniocentesis is invasive and carries the risk of a miscarriage.

• Genetic Testing – this type of testing involves extracting amniotic fluid samples and testing these for various conditions such as Down syndrome.

• Fetal Lung Testing – the Fetal Lung Testing includes taking a specimen of the amniotic fluid and checking if the lungs of the child are mature and developed for birth.

• Analysis of Fetal Infection – once in a while, Amniocentesis is utilized to assess the baby if they have infections or any other illness; also, it can be used to determine the asperity of anemia in babies who have the Rh sensitization which is a unique condition wherein the immune system of a mother creates antibodies that fight off a specific type of protein that can be found on the surface of a child’s blood cells.

• Treatment – if you end up accumulating too much amniotic fluid while pregnant (polyhydramnios), Amniocentesis may be utilized to drain the excess fluid that has accumulated in your uterus.

The Risks of Amniocentesis

Even though Amniocentesis can easily provide essential details regarding the health of your baby, it is still vital for you to understand the various risks that accompany Amniocentesis; plus, you should always prepare for whatever the outcome is. Here are some of the various risks when it comes to Amniocentesis.

• Leaking amniotic fluid – it is rare for amniotic fluid to leak from the vagina right after amniocentesis. Yet in a lot of cases, the amount of lost fluid is small and it stops in just a week; during the period, the pregnancy is most likely to proceed how it normally would.

• Miscarriage – the 2nd-trimester Amniocentesis usually brings a slight risk of miscarriage; and based on research, it states that the common risk of pregnancy loss is much higher for those undergoing Amniocentesis before fifteen weeks of pregnancy.

• Needle Injuries – during the process of Amniocentesis, the baby may possibly move a leg or arm directly into the needle’s path; however, serious injuries caused by needles are rare.

• Rh Sensitization – it is rare for Amniocentesis to cause the blood cells of a baby to enter your bloodstream; if you have negative Rh blood and have not developed enough antibodies to positive Rh blood, you will be infused with an Rh Immune Globulin right after the process of Amniocentesis.

• Infections – it is rare for Amniocentesis to trigger infections such as uterine infection but it is possible; if ever you have an infection such as toxoplasmosis, hepatitis C, or even HIV / AIDS, the infection may be transferred to your baby during the process of Amniocentesis.

Keep in mind that genetic Amniocentesis is usually provided when test results may have a huge impact on the pregnancy management and generally, the decision to undergo amniocentesis all depends on you. Your health care specialist can help you decide which is why it is always best to consult them first before deciding on whether or not to push through with a specific procedure.

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