Amniocentesis – Class 12 | Chapter – 4 | Biology Short Notes Series PDF

Amniocentesis: Amniocentesis is a test you may be offered during pregnancy to check if your baby has a genetic or chromosomal condition, such as Down’s syndrome, Edwards’ syndrome or Patau’s syndrome. It involves removing and testing a small sample of cells from amniotic fluid, the fluid that surrounds the baby in the womb (uterus).

Why is Amniocentesis performed?

  • Genetic testing: Genetic amniocentesis involves taking a sample of amniotic fluid and testing the DNA from the cells for diagnosis of certain conditions, such as Down syndrome. This might follow another screening test that showed a high risk of the condition.
  • Diagnosis of fetal infection: Occasionally, amniocentesis is used to look for infection or other illness in the baby.
  • Treatment: Amniocentesis might be done to drain amniotic fluid from the uterus if too much has built up — a condition called polyhydramnios.
  • Fetal lung testing: If delivery is planned sooner than 39 weeks, amniotic fluid might be tested to help find out whether a baby’s lungs are mature enough for birth. This is rarely done.

Procedure of Amniocentesis

  • Cleans a small area on your belly with an antiseptic (to kill germs).
  • Applies a special gel on your belly.
  • Moves a wand-like device over the gel to capture ultrasound images of the fetus on a nearby monitor.
  • Inserts a thin, hollow needle through your abdomen and uterus (into the amniotic sac but away from the fetus).
  • Removes a small amount of fluid through the needle.
  • Removes the needle from your abdomen.
  • Monitors the fetal heartbeat and movement on the ultrasound to ensure they weren’t affected by the procedure.

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By Team Learning Mantras