Amniocentesis is a screening process of the fetus to determine developmental defects by sampling amniotic fluid.
Amniocentesis is done during the 15-20 weeks of pregnancy. The process involves inserting a long needle through the abdomen to extract sample fluid. The sample taken is actually amniotic fluid which is present in the uterus surrounding the fetus. This is necessarily done to screen potential health complications of the fetus that include genetic abnormalities, uterine infections or any other issues. The sample fluid taken contains some cells and sloughed off skin of the developing fetus. Usually an Ultrasound is performed after the amniotic fluid test.
Amniotic fluid is extracted to determine the following complications:
- Down syndrome, sickle cell anemia, Huntington’s Tay-Sachs and cystic fibrosis.
- This test also helps in determining a neural condition called Spina bifida.
- The sex of the fetus can also be determined in addition to the ultrasound methods.
There are hardly any known risks associated with the amniotic fluid test. Any potential complications if detected can be treated thus eliminating the risk to the growing baby.