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AMNIOCENTESIS PRENATAL TEST FOR PREGNANCY

AMNIOCENTESIS PRENATAL TEST FOR PREGNANCY
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Amniocentesis is a common prenatal test in which a small sample of the amniotic fluid surrounding the fetus is removed and examined. The technique was first used in 1882 to remove excess amniotic fluid (1). Today, amniocentesis often is used to diagnose or, far more likely, rule out certain birth defects.

What is Amniocentesis?
Amniocentesis test is carried out on a pregnant woman to collect information about the fetus from a sample of the amniotic fluid. The fetus is surrounded by the amniotic fluid inside the uterus. Amniocentesis is not advised for ever pregnancy women because it carries a small risk of miscarriage. This Amniocentesis test only recommended when there is increased the risk of chromosomal or genetic birth defects or certain malformations. Amniocentesis test is usually performed in the second trimester or anywhere between 11 – 14 weeks of pregnancy.

Some recommended risk that pregnant woman should be take Amniocentesis test :

  • Maternal age. The risk of bearing children with certain chromosomal birth defects increases as a woman ages. If a woman will be 35 or older at the time of delivery, health care providers offer the option of prenatal diagnostic testing for chromosomal disorders. The most common of these disorders is Down syndrome, a combination of mental and physical abnormalities caused by an extra chromosome. Down syndrome occurs in about 1 in 1,250 children born to women in their 20s. The chances increase to about 1 in 400 by age 35, 1 in 100 at age 40, and 1 in 30 at age 45 (2).
  • A previous child or pregnancy with a birth defect. If a couple already has had a child (or pregnancy) diagnosed with a chromosomal abnormality, a genetic birth defect, or certain birth defects involving the brain or spinal cord (neural tube defects or NTDs), the couple may be offered prenatal testing during subsequent pregnancies.
  • Family history. Couples with a family history of certain birth defects, such as cystic fibrosis (lung disease) or fragile X syndrome (mental retardation), may be offered amniocentesis.
  • Abnormal screening test results. Screening tests for birth defects can be done in the first or second trimester. The first-trimester screening test combines a blood test with an ultrasound exam to measure the skin fold at the back of the fetal neck. The second trimester screening test also can suggest an increased risk for neural tube defects. Abnormal results on either the first- or second-trimester screening test can suggest an increased risk of Down syndrome and certain other chromosomal abnormalities. Amniocentesis can diagnose or rule out chromosomal abnormalities and can help diagnose NTDs.

Most chromosomal disorders such as Down syndrome and Edward’s syndrome can be detected with the help of an amniocentesis test. It is also possible to diagnose conditions such as cystic fibrosis, sickle cell disease, Huntington’s disease and Tay-Sachs disease. Neural tube defects such as spina bifida and anencephaly can be detected with an amniocentesis test. However, no one prenatal test can guarantee the birth of a healthy baby, since only some birth defects can be ruled out before birth. Amniocentesis test has an accuracy rate of between 99.4 and 100 % in diagnosing chromosomal abnormalities.

Other reasons for suggesting an amniocentesis test:

  • To determine whether the fetal lungs are mature for early delivery, in case circumstances demand it
  • An amniocentesis test can diagnose uterine infections
  • Amniocentesis can help in determining the severity of fetal anemia in cases of Rh disease

How is Amniocentesis Test?
This procedure takes about 20 minutes. The technician uses an ultrasound to detect a pocket of amniotic fluid that is a safe distance from the baby and placenta. A long, thin and hollow needle is inserted through the abdominal wall into the amniotic fluid. A small amount of amniotic fluid is drawn out for testing. While some women experience cramping or pinching, others feel no discomfort at all. It is advisable to take it easy for a day and avoid heavy work.

Some women notice spotting or leaking amniotic fluid. After the sample is taken, the physician uses ultrasound to check that the fetal heartbeat is normal. The amniotic fluid drawn during the test is tested in a laboratory for chromosomal abnormalities and genetic birth defects. The amniotic fluid contains numerous free-floating fetal cells that can be grown in a laboratory. When these cells multiply and reach a certain number, their chromosomes or genes are extracted and analyzed. It takes nearly 3 weeks to procure the results from an amniocentesis test.

When is Amniocentesis Done?
Amniocentesis usually is done in the second trimester between 15 and 20 weeks of pregnancy. Some medical centers offer early amniocentesis, done in the first trimester, between 11 and 14 weeks after the last menstrual period. However, recent studies suggest that early amniocentesis is riskier than second-trimester amniocentesis.

What is The Risk of Amniocentesis?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the rate of miscarriage with amniocentesis is between one in 400 and one in 200 procedures. First-trimester amniocentesis carries more risk than second-trimester amniocentesis. There is a slight risk of developing an uterine infection in the days following the procedure. It is therefore essential to get the amniocentesis test done under an experienced doctor. Knowing about your child’s condition can help you prepare for challenges that you may have to face. With continuous ultrasound guidance is used, injuries to the baby from the amniocentesis needle are very rare. The amniocentesis needle is guided into the sac with the help of ultrasound imaging. Once the needle is in the sac, a syringe is used to withdraw the clear amber-colored amniotic fluid. The volume of fluid withdrawn depends upon the age of the fetus and the reason for the testing.

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