Amniocentesis, or an Amniotic Fluid Test (AFT), is a medical procedure used for prenatal diagnosis, in which a small amount of amniotic fluid is extracted from the amnion around a developing fetus. It is usually offered when there may be an increased risk for genetic conditions in the pregnancy.
Amniocentesis can be done as soon as there is enough amniotic fluid surrounding the fetus that a sample can be removed safely. Early amniocentesis can be performed as early as 13 weeks gestation. Standard amniocentesis is usually performed between 15 and 20 weeks gestation. Results take about two weeks. Often, genetic counseling is done before amniocentesis, or other types of genetic testing are offered.
Other reasons that you might have amniocentesis include:
? To determine whether your baby’s lungs are mature enough for an early delivery if you appear to be in premature labor or require an early delivery for any reason.
? To diagnose or rule out a uterine infection if your water has broken prematurely or your practitioner has any other reason for suspecting you have one.
? To check on the well-being of your baby if you have a blood sensitization, such as Rh sensitization. This is a complex condition that can occur if your blood is a different type than your baby’s. (Note: More and more hospitals are using Doppler ultrasound for this purpose instead of amnio.)
New study finds amniocentesis safer for pregnant women. Researchers at Mount School of Medicine in conjunction with other institutions involved in the First and Second Trimester Evaluation of Risk for Aneuploidy trial (FASTER trial) have just reported in the November issue of the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology, that pregnancy miscarriage rates after routine midtrimester amniocentesis are significantly lower than rates previously published years ago in the 1970s and 1980s.