Will I feel pain?

Your comfort and relaxation is important to you and your care team. An amniocentesis may involve minor pain when the needle enters your abdomen and uterus. You may feel minor pressure on your abdomen from the ultrasound transducer. You may feel some cramping during and after fluid withdrawal. 

Take a few long, deep breaths to help yourself relax. Tell your doctor if any discomfort does not pass quickly.

What are the risks and potential complications of amniocentesis? 

Amniocentesis involves risks and complications. Complications may become serious and life threatening in some cases. Complications can develop during or after the procedure and include:

  • Amniotic fluid leakage
  • Cramping 
  • Miscarriage (rare)
  • Infection that enters from outside the uterus through the needle
  • Needle injury to the fetus (rare)
  • Vaginal bleeding

How do I prepare for amniocentesis?

You are an important member of your own healthcare team. The steps you take before amniocentesis can improve your comfort and outcome.  You may need to drink extra fluids to fill your bladder before the test. This is important to have clear ultrasound images to guide the needle safely into the uterus.

Remember that amniocentesis is a safe test for most women. This test can cause some anxiety about the state of your pregnancy, so you may want to have someone come with you. 

Questions to ask your doctor

Facing an amniocentesis can be stressful. It is common for patients to forget some of their questions during a doctor’s office visit. You may also think of other questions after your appointment. Contact your doctor with concerns and questions before amniocentesis and between appointments. 

It is also a good idea to bring a list of questions to your appointments. Common questions include:

  • Why do I need an amniocentesis? Are there any other options for diagnosing fetal conditions?
  • How long will the procedure take? When can I go home?
  • When and how will I receive the results of my test?
  • What other tests or treatments might I need?
  • When should I follow-up with you?
  • How should I contact you? Ask for numbers to call during and after regular office hours.

What can I expect after amniocentesis?

Knowing what to expect after an amniocentesis can help you get back to your everyday life as soon as possible.

How will I feel after an amniocentesis?

Amniocentesis may cause some pain or discomfort during the procedure. Any discomfort should go away quickly after the test. Call your doctor if you have pain or discomfort after the procedure. 

Your doctor may recommend that you rest for the remainder of the day. Women generally return to normal activities by the morning after amniocentesis.

When can I go home?

Women usually go home right away after amniocentesis.

When should I call my doctor?

It is important to keep your follow-up appointments after amniocentesis. Contact your doctor for questions and concerns between appointments. Call your doctor right away or seek immediate medical care if you have:

  • Cramps lasting longer than a few hours
  • Excessive or ongoing vaginal fluid loss (more than a few tablespoons) 
  • Fever 
  • Vaginal bleeding