What is an amniocentesis?

An amniocentesis is performed later in pregnancy. Using ultrasound guidance, a sample of amniotic fluid is taken using a needle inserted through the abdominal wall. The fluid collected is then tested for chromosomal abnormalities. 

What can an amniocentesis detect?

An amniocentesis can be used to identify the following conditions: 

  • Down’s syndrome
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Tay-Sachs
  • Sickle cell disease 
  • Neural tube defects 

Who is recommended to take this test?

This test is usually recommended to expectant mothers that have had or are one of the following: 
  •  Have had abnormal ultrasound results
  • Are aged 35 or older (or will be at the time of pregnancy)
  • Have a family history of birth defects
  • Have a previous child with birth defects 

Are there any risks involved?

There is less than a 1% chance of miscarriage as a result of having an amniocentesis

How accurate is an amniocentesis?

An amniocentesis has an accuracy rate of over 99%.

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