Why It Is Done
Amniocentesis may be done during your second trimester of pregnancy to find certain birth defects.
You may choose to have this test because:
- Of your age. As you get older, you have a greater chance of having a baby with a birth defect. Many doctors use 35 and older as the age for higher risk.
- You want to know for sure if your baby has a certain health problem. This may help you decide early whether you want to continue your pregnancy or make plans to care for a sick child.
- You or the baby's father carries an abnormal gene that is known to cause a disease, such as Reference Tay-Sachs disease Opens New Window, Reference sickle cell anemia Opens New Window, or Reference cystic fibrosis Opens New Window.
- You or the baby's father has a family history of a genetic disorder or birth defect.
- Screening tests suggest that your chance of having a baby with a genetic disorder or birth defect is higher than average.
Amniocentesis can tell the gender of your fetus. This is important when you or the father may be able to pass on a disease that occurs mainly in one gender (sex-linked), such as Reference hemophilia Opens New Window or Reference Duchenne muscular dystrophy Opens New Window, both of which occur mainly in males.
Amniocentesis may be done during your third trimester to:
- See if your fetus's lungs are mature. This may be done when you may need to deliver early because of a problem with the pregnancy.
- See whether the amniotic fluid is infected (chorioamnionitis).
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference April 4, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Reference Siobhan M. Dolan, MD, MPH - Reproductive Genetics