Amniocentesis: Ensuring Safe Pregnancy

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Pregnancy involves lot of tests and scans, mostly to avoid the eleventh hour hassles and anxiety. The doctor wants to be sure that everything is all right with the mother as well as the baby beforehand to ensure safe and normal delivery. Amniocentesis is a highly specialized test in which amniotic fluid sample is taken from the uterus or the womb and the fluid is tested to analyze whether the fetus is carrying any sort of abnormalities or not. It is a type of diagnostic test and hence can reveal with full certainty about the condition of the baby’s health. Amniocentesis is very important for the diagnosis of chromosomal abnormalities as well as development of the lungs (lung maturity).

Detection by Amniocentesis

Our body comprise of hundreds of genetic disorders. The most common being chromosomal disorders like trisomy 18, Down’s syndrome, Edward’s syndrome, and defects in neural tube such as anencephaly and spina bifida. This test also shows whether the baby in the womb is rhesus negative or not. In case the delivery is to be performed by caesarean section, the test helps the doctors to determine whether the lungs of the baby are matured enough for delivery. But it’s not possible for amniocentesis to reveal about each and every physical abnormality, such as cleft lip or even palate. 

When should you opt for Amniocentesis?

Amniocentesis is not regularly advised by the doctors like the other routine tests. Rather it is mostly recommended when the doctor’s suspect some chromosomal disorders, like down’s syndrome. Some of the reasons wherein the doctor may recommend amniocentesis to you are:

  • When the blood screening test is positive denoting that your foetus has more chances of having chromosomal disorders than regular; doctors recommend this test
  • If birth defects are hereditary
  • If your earlier child is born with some genetic disorder
  • If your close relatives have genetic disorder
  • In case the situation demands early delivery and your doctor is keen to know about the maturity level of the baby’s lungs

In which month the test recommended?

The test is recommended mostly in the second trimester. Thus, if any disorder comes to the fore, the decision whether to keep the baby or not becomes extremely difficult. It can be also conducted as late as in 20th week, but carrying out amniocentesis as early as in the 12th week can result in miscarriage. So, it is better to avoid it. For a mother this is a very difficult time as she has to decide whether to give birth to a child with defect or terminate the pregnancy. Whatever the decision, it gives you time to become prepared for the consequences. 

Amniocentesis is not a regular test and has to be carried out carefully with the help of ultrasound and certainly by a highly skilled person. The fluid has to be taken out from the womb without disturbing the baby or creating an injury, and hence it is best done from a highly specialized health care practitioner.

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