Amniocentesis is a diagnostic invasive test that allows us to examine cells, DNA and metabolites of the amniotic liquid. These cells are mainly deriving from the fetus, so their chromosomes are the same as those of the fetus.

How is amniocentesis conducted?

During amniocentesis we insert a needle into the uterus and collect 15-20 ml of amniotic fluid. The examination is conducted under continuous ultrasound surveillance. The amniotic fluid is the fetus’ urine and the amount that is extracted is recovered within a few hours. The examination lasts for about 1 minute.

What should be expected after amniocentesis?

For the first two days after the examination you may feel some discomfort in the abdomen, like period pain. Painkillers such as paracetamol may be of great help. If you experience severe pain, bleeding, you lose liquid through the vagina or your temperature rise, then you should inform your doctor.

When am I going to receive the results?

The results for Down’s syndrome and other serious chromosomal abnormalities are usually available within 3 days. The results for rarer chromosomal problems are available within 2 weeks.

What are the risks of amniocentesis?

The risk of miscarriage due to amniocentesis is 0.5-1% and is the same as the risk from chorionic villus sampling (CVS). If you are to miscarry, it will happen within the next 5 days. There is also a very low risk of maternal infection (1 in 1000), therefore it is recommended to record your temperature for the next two days.

In some studies it is shown that when amniocentesis is conducted before 16 weeks of gestation, there is a minor risk for the fetus to develop talipes. For this reason, amniocentesis should not be conducted before the 16th week of gestation.