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What is amniocentesis? When does amniocentesis occur? What are the benefits and what are the consequences?

What is amniocentesis? When does amniocentesis occur? What are the benefits and what are the consequences?

What is amniocentesis? When does amniocentesis occur? What are the benefits and what are the consequences?

Amniocentesis involves collecting amniotic fluid around the fetus through a needle inserted through the abdominal wall. It is done after 16 weeks.
Amniocentesis is most commonly used in the diagnosis of chromosomal abnormalities (Down syndrome), but may also be useful in the diagnosis of fetal infections or specific genetic abnormalities.


At amniocentesis, fluid is collected around the fetus containing fetal cells, and these cells are genetically analyzed. Amniocentesis is done when there is a recommendation: increased risk of genetic abnormalities, suspected fetal infections.
The risks associated with the procedure are: loss of pregnancy below 1%, infection of the uterus (very rarely), bleeding, pain.
Because of the risk of pregnancy loss, amniocentesis should be offered only to pregnant women who have an indication.

Recently, in the genetic diagnosis, the place of amniocentesis was taken by the placenta biopsy (chorionic villi). This procedure is done earlier in pregnancy (so it allows for an earlier diagnosis) and has the same risks as amniocentesis. The benefit of early diagnosis is that it allows parents to make a decision in the case of a fetus, affected earlier in pregnancy.

Dr. Anca Panaitescu
resident obstetrics-gynecologist

Tags Pregnancy Questions Amniocentesis Amniocentesis Pregnancy Amniotic fluid pregnancy