What is an Amniocentesis?

An amniocentesis is a procedure in which a small sample of amniotic fluid surrounding the fetus is removed.

This involves the insertion of a needle through the uterine wall and is done with ultrasound guidance.

The procedure is performed to obtain genetic information about the fetus.

How do I prepare for the exam?

No special preparation is necessary.

What will happen during the exam?

You will lie down on a table for the exam and the sonographer will put a warm gel on your abdomen. The gel is water-based and will not stain your clothing. The gel maximizes contact between the skin producing high quality images.

The sonographer will move the transducer on your abdomen and evaluate the pregnancy. When the exam is over, the sonographer will wipe off the gel.  A safe site for the amniocentesis will be identified using ultrasound. The physician will cleanse the abdomen and insert a needle into the uterus. The physician will remove the needle when enough fluid has been removed.

How long will the procedure take?

An amniocentesis will take approximately 15 minutes. It will take up to an hour if an ultrasound for a complete fetal survey is also performed.

How will I receive my results?

Amniocentesis results are usually available in 10-14 days. Your doctor’s office will notify you of the results as soon as they are available.

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