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Amniocentesis is a prenatal test that helps you learn if a fetus has health problems. The test is most often done between weeks 15 and 18 of pregnancy. Discuss with your doctor whether amniocentesis is right for you.
If the fetus has a higher than normal chance of birth defects or other problems, you may want to have this test. The following risk factors can increase chances of fetal health problems:
You’re 35 or older.
There’s a history of inherited (genetic) problems in your family.
Other tests have shown that the fetus may have health problems.
First, the fetus is located with ultrasound (sound waves that make an image on a screen).
A thin needle is then inserted into your belly. The doctor keeps the needle from touching the fetus by watching the screen.
The needle is used to remove a small amount of fluid from your womb. Your body will make more fluid to replace what was taken.
You can go home right after the test. But you may need to take it easy for a day or so.
Call your doctor right away if you notice:
Severe pain or cramping
Vaginal bleeding (spotting)
Fever or chills
Fluid leaking from your vagina
You’ll learn your amniocentesis results in 2 weeks. Most results are normal. Even if yours aren’t, it doesn’t always mean there’s a problem. You and your doctor can talk about other tests or special care you may want.