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What is amniocentesis?

Amniocentesis

Amniocentesis is a test performed during pregnancy to diagnose genetic disorders, chromosomal abnormalities, and birth defects. It can also help diagnose certain infections and the maturity of your baby’s lungs. 

Amniocentesis involves inserting a needle through the abdomen to take out a small amount of amniotic fluid from inside the uterus. Amniotic fluid is the liquid that surrounds the growing fetus. The amniotic fluid sample is tested in a laboratory. 

An amniocentesis is only one method used to test for conditions of a fetus. You may have less invasive testing options. Discuss all of your testing options with your doctor or healthcare provider to understand which options are right for you.

Medical Reviewers: Daphne E. Hemmings, MD, MPH Last Review Date: Jun 30, 2013

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Medical References

Amniocentesis. American Pregnancy Association. http://www.americanpregnancy.org/prenataltesting/amniocentesis.html. Accessed April 14, 2013.
Amniocentesis. March of Dimes. http://www.marchofdimes.com/pregnancy/prenatalcare_amniocentesis.html. Accessed April 14, 2013.
Facts about Anencephaly. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/birthdefects/anencephaly.html. Accessed April 14, 2013.
Screening for Birth Defects. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. http://www.acog.org/~/media/For%20Patients/faq165.pdf?dmc=1&ts=20130414T1508160672. Accessed April 14, 2013.

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