Amniocentesis is a prenatal diagnostic test in which amniotic fluid is extracted via a long thin needle inserted through the maternal abdomen into the uterus and the amniotic sac. The procedure is usually performed between the fifteenth and eighteenth week of gestation and results can be obtained nine to fourteen days later. Some major medical centers now use a procedure called Fluorescence In Situ Hybridization (FISH) to obtain results within twenty-four hours. It is recommended for women over age thirty-five and those having risk factors for genetic abnormalities. Amniocentesis is a reliable (95% accuracy rate) indicator of chromosomal abnormalities such as Down syndrome, or genetic disorders such as Tay Sachs disease, Hunter's syndrome, or neural tube abnormalities such as spina bifida and others. While usually safe, amniocentesis can trigger cramping, leakage of amniotic fluid, vaginal bleeding, and it may increase the risk of miscarriage by about .5 to 1 percent.



''Amniocentesis: Indications for Amniocentesis.'' Available from; INTERNET.

Epstein, R. H. ''Great News about Prenatal Testing.'' Parents 73, no. 6 (2000). Heller, L. ''Genetic Testing.'' Parents 70 (1995):96. Williams, R. D. ''Testing for Birth Defects.'' FDA Consumer 33, no. 2 (2000):22.

Yvonne M. Caldera

100 Pregnancy Tips

100 Pregnancy Tips

Prior to planning pregnancy, you should learn more about the things involved in getting pregnant. It involves carrying a baby inside you for nine months, caring for a child for a number of years, and many more. Consider these things, so that you can properly assess if you are ready for pregnancy. Get all these very important tips about pregnancy that you need to know.

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