Pregnancy Care: Amniocentesis

Amniocentesis is a medical procedure used in prenatal diagnosis of chromosomal abnormalities and fetal infections, and also used for sex determination in which a small amount of amniotic fluid, which contains fetal tissues, is sampled from the amniotic sac surrounding a developing fetus, and the fetal DNA is examined for genetic abnormalities.

The most common reason to have an "amnio" is to determine whether a baby has certain genetic disorders or a chromosomal abnormality, such as Down syndrome.

Amniocentesis (or another procedure, called chorionic villus sampling (CVS)) can diagnose these problems in the womb. Amniocentesis is usually done when a woman is between 14 and 16 weeks pregnant.

Women who choose to have this test are primarily those at increased risk for genetic and chromosomal problems, in part because the test is invasive and carries a small risk of miscarriage. This process can be used for prenatal sex discernment and hence this procedure has legal restrictions in some countries.

The video describes the amniotic fluid and its function in determining congenital defects in the child. The reasons for performing it in the second and third trimester are stated. The care required in the procedure is described and the post-surgical precautions are stated.