An amniocentesis gives you essential information about your baby’s health before they're born. At Maternal & Fetal Medicine Center of Southern California, Inc. in Santa Monica, California, Khalil Tabsh, MD, recommends this form of screening for women whose baby has a risk of a genetic disease. If you have concerns about your baby and want a thorough screening, call the office to make an appointment and find out if an amniocentesis is right for you.
Amniotic fluid surrounds your baby during development in the womb. The fluid has the consistency of water and contains live fetal cells and other substances that give the doctor insight about your baby before they’re even born.
Amniocentesis involves removing a small amount of amniotic fluid from the sac that surrounds the fetus. Less than an ounce is used for testing, and it's removed using a very fine needle inserted into the uterus via a guided ultrasound.
A laboratory examines the fluid as directed by Dr. Tabash according to your specific genetic risks. The test is usually scheduled between 15 and 18 weeks of pregnancy.
Amniocentesis isn’t routine as it does pose a small risk for both the baby and mother. It’s used to look for specific congenital disabilities such as Down syndrome, sickle cell disease, cystic fibrosis, Tay-Sachs disease, and muscular dystrophy. The test can also look for spina bifida and other neural tube defects.
Dr. Tabash may recommend the test if you:
Amniocentesis is also the most accurate way to determine your baby’s gender, but you may already have an idea due to prior ultrasounds or genetic tests.
Amniocentesis is about 99.4% accurate. In very rare circumstances, amniocentesis fails due to technical malfunction of the equipment or an inability to collect an adequate sample. Sometimes the cells cultured following the screening fail to grow and give results that are impossible to interpret.
Although risks of harm to you or your baby are incredibly small, they do exist. In less than 1% of cases, amniocentesis could cause miscarriage. Infection, injury to you or your baby, and preterm labor are other extremely rare complications that can be caused by amniocentesis.
Dr. Tabash reviews the benefits and risks of the screening with you, but you have ultimate autonomy in deciding whether or not to undergo the test.
To learn more about amniocentesis and the valuable information it provides you and the doctor, call Maternal & Fetal Medicine Center of Southern California, Inc. to schedule a consultation today.