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Amniocentesis

Amniocentesis: How Is The Procedure Done?

Thursday, April 5, 2012 - 15:17

Contributing Author: Guy Slowik FRCS

In amniocentesis, ultrasound (sound wave) monitoring is used to find the amniotic fluid and the placenta, to keep track of the fetus, and to insert the amniocentesis needle away from the baby.

For more detailed information about ultrasound, go to Ultrasound.

Drawing Amniotic Fluid

The doctor or technician conducting the test will carefully clean the skin on the woman's abdomen where the needle will be inserted. The needle insertion site on the skin may be locally anesthetized.

The needle, which is very thin, will be placed through the abdomen into the uterus. Local anesthetic may not be used since the needle administering an anesthetic is frequently as painful as the amniocentesis needle. However, sometimes a topical anesthetic is used. After the needle is withdrawn, the clinician will observe the fetus on the ultrasound monitor to make sure that its heart is beating normally and that everything appears normal.

The Rest Of The Day

A woman is advised not to lift anything heavy and to report any bleeding, fluid leakage, fever, or severe cramps after the test.

Need to Know:

Call your doctor if you experience any of the following after undergoing amniocentesis:

  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Premature labor, signified by unusual abdominal pain and/or cramping
  • Signs of infection, such as leaking of amniotic fluid, unusual vaginal discharge, or fever

Special Case: Rh Negative Mother

Rh negative women will be given medicine after the amniocentesis, which is an antibody to D protein called Rhogans. During amniocentesis there is a chance that the mother's and baby's blood will mix; the drug can prevent the potential complication of having the mother develop an immune response against her Rh D protein, which may affect future babies.

Amniocentesis