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Amniocentesis meaning ‘puncture of the amnion’.

Amniocentesis meaning ‘puncture of the amnion’. It is a medical procedure performed on pregnant women. This procedure was developed by Richard Dedrick. In this procedure, a small sample of amniotic fluid is collected from the thin-walled amniotic sac present in uterus to diagnose genetic and chromosomal defects of a foetus. Thus, this test enables parents to form an idea about the health of their baby before its birth and prepare accordingly. This procedure is generally recommended when either of the parents have a medical history of congenital disabilities in their family or if the mother has previously given birth to a baby (or babies) with a birth defect. Aside from that, it is also suggested to women who will be over 35 years of age while giving birth. It is because the risk of giving birth to children with birth defects is directly proportional to the age of a woman. Studies have shown that around the age of 35, the risk of a woman having a child with congenital disabilities is one in 200.

You learnt about what is amniocentesis in the previous section. You should also note that it is a quick and straightforward procedure with almost no risk involved, inducing only minor discomfort to the patient. Most medical experts agree that the best time to do the process is between the 14th and 16th week or the second trimester of pregnancy. If the procedure is conducted too early, it may pose serious risks such as miscarriage. In some cases, amniocentesis is also carried out during the third trimester to know the condition of foetal lungs. Let us now learn more about what is amniocentesis procedure. The whole process of amniocentesis has been listed below –

The amniotic fluid will be sent to a laboratory where it will be analysed. The free-floating foetal cells are separated and cultured. Once the cultured cells have grown (which usually takes a few weeks) the chromosomes are put under a microscope to detect any genetic abnormalities, foetal infections, biochemical and neural tube defects. However, this procedure also helps in determining the sex of the foetus. As a result, in some countries such as India, it is illegal to conduct this procedure.

Some benefits of this procedure are as follows –

Now that you know what is amniocentesis, you should know that this procedure is very safe and involves nominal risks. Moreover, there are no long-term side effects to this procedure. Short term side effects experienced by patients include cramps, mild pain in the abdomen, nausea and so on. However, some patients may show signs of complications. These should be reported to the physician as soon as possible; healthcare specialists should also define amniocentesis and its issues beforehand to every patient for better understanding of the procedure. The complications are –

Ans: Amniocentesis definition is that it is a medical process where a tiny amount of amniotic fluid is removed from the amniotic sac.

Ans: Amniocentesis is performed to detect any genetic defect in the foetus. It is also done to ascertain the condition of foetal lungs.

Ans: Some minor complications experienced by patients after this procedure includes cramps and mild pain. In rare cases, the patient may suffer from a uterine infection.