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What is amniocentesis?

An Amniocentesis may be offered if you have a high risk Down Syndrome Screening result or a significant problem in the baby is detected on scan.

The test involves passing a thin needle into the uterus under ultrasound guidance in order to remove a small volume of amniotic fluid. Within the amniotic fluid there will be cells from the baby, which the lab can then analyse to check the baby’s chromosomes.

What should I expect after amniocentesis?

There may be some discomfort where the needle was inserted for the first couple of days after the procedure, for which you can take paracetamol.

If there is a lot of pain, bleeding, loss of fluid from your vagina or if you develop a temperature please seek medical advice.

When can I expect to get the results?

The results for Down's syndrome and other major chromosomal defects are usually available within 3 days. The results for rare defects take 2 weeks. As soon as we get the results, we will call you to let you know

What are the risks associated with amniocentesis?

The risk of miscarriage due to amniocentesis is about 0.5% (1:200) and this is the same as the risk from chorion villus sampling. If you were to miscarry due to the test, this would happen within the first 2 weeks of the procedure.

Some studies have shown that when amniocentesis is performed before 15 weeks there is a small risk of the baby developing club feet. To avoid this risk, we never perform amniocentesis before 15 weeks.

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