Amniocentisis

Amniocentesis may be recommended for:

  • Women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant and will be 35 or older at delivery.
  • Couples who have had baby or a relative with a chromosome abnormality like Down syndrome, an open spine or skull defect, mental retardation, or other birth defects.
  • Couples who are known or possible carriers of an inherited disorder like Hemophilia, Muscular Dystrophy, Cystic Fibrosis, Tay Sachs, Thalassemia.
  • Couples with an increased risk of having a baby with an open spine/open skull or Down syndrome based on pregnancy screening or ultrasound.
  • Couples who are concerned about having an abnormal baby.

Amniocentesis is a procedure in which a small amount of amniotic fluid is withdrawn from the amniotic sac surrounding the fetus in the uterus. From this fluid a chromosome analysis, open spine and skull defects, and inherited genetic disorders tests can be performed.

Dr. Lescale explains that an amniocentesis requires an experienced physician. While using a continuous ultrasound guidance the physician carefully inserts a slender needle through the mother’s abdominal wall into the uterus. Care is taken to make sure the needle is a safe distance from the fetus. Then a small amount of the amniotic fluid is withdrawn. This fluid contains cells that have been naturally washed from the fetus.

Amniocentesis is associated with the risk of miscarriage. Although medical studies have shown that statistically there does not appear to be an increased risk of miscarriage for women having an amniocentesis versus women who have not had and amniocentesis.

Patients are often reassured when they receive the results of their amniocentesis. In the event that the tests reveal that the patient’s baby has a disorder the prenatal diagnosis helps them to prepare and make informed decisions about their care.

For more information go to www.genzymegenetics.com.

 

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© 2018 Keith Lescale, M.D., F.A.C.O.G.