In case of serious suspicions of malformations, doctors prescribe special genetic tests. With their help, you can determine whether the baby will be healthy before birth. One of the most common procedures for such a plan is amniocentesis. This technique is widespread throughout the world and here in Ukraine. In most cases, the procedure allows you to make predictions with high accuracy. Let’s see what it is.
Amniocentesis is …
Before birth, the fetus is in the uterine amniotic sac. Here it grows and develops. The bladder is filled with amniotic fluid or amniotic fluid. Dead cells get into it. It also contains various microorganisms and chemicals, indicators of pregnancy. All this biomaterial contains a lot of important information about the condition and health of the fetus.
The term “amniocentesis” comes from two words: the Latin “amnion”, which means water shell, and the Greek “kentesis”, ie piercing. This is an invasive procedure to obtain amniotic fluid for analysis or injection into a fetal bladder. The method is most often used for diagnostic purposes. With the help of the prenatal procedure, you can accurately identify different types of genetic and other diseases.
Analysis of amniotic fluid is performed at 16-19 weeks of pregnancy. During this period, the intervention is the most informative and least dangerous for mother and child. The decision to perform the procedure is made on the basis of a preliminary examination in case of suspicion of the development of certain pathologies. The test can be prescribed for both singleton and multiple pregnancies. This is how amniocentesis works.
- The exact term of pregnancy is established by ultrasound examination, the number of fetuses is checked, their / his condition is assessed. Also at this stage, the specialist determines the readiness of the female body for the procedure.
- A puncture of the ovum through the abdominal cavity takes a certain amount of amniotic fluid – about 20-40 cubic centimeters. The analysis is completely sterile, pre-disinfection of the skin in the area of the puncture. With the help of ultrasound, the specialist determines the most successful point of penetration at a safe distance from the fetus.
- The laboratory performs a complete analysis of amniotic fluid, including by artificially growing embryonic cells.
The result can be obtained in 2-3 weeks. Less often, cells are cultured longer.
The pain procedure is comparable to a regular blood test. It is performed without anesthesia. But you need to understand that this method is more complicated. Therefore, after amniocentesis it is worth taking preventive measures: rest for at least two days and abstain from sexual intercourse for 72 hours. At any sensations of discomfort it is necessary to address to the doctor.
In parallel with amniocentesis in some cases cordocentesis is performed. This is another method of prenatal diagnosis, in which the umbilical cord of the fetus is punctured. Blood is drawn from the vessels for further laboratory tests.
Amniocentesis: pros and cons
Although this method of diagnosis is quite safe, it is not recommended for use without serious indications. To get a referral for the procedure, you need not only a consultation with a gynecologist, but also a thorough genetic examination.
Abdominal puncture during pregnancy is a serious invasive procedure that has its risks. Due to the following complications, many do not dare to perform amniocentesis.
- Risk of miscarriage. Although the probability of such an outcome is low, up to 0.25%, there is a danger.
- Uterine infection. Any invasive procedure carries such a risk.
- Amniocentesis errors and ambiguous results. Carefully choose the clinic where you conduct the study.
Proper preparation for amniocentesis will also help to avoid the risks of the procedure. It is necessary to pass various inspections for timely detection of infections and inflammations. 4-5 days before the procedure, the use of acetylsalicylic acid, as well as drugs that reduce clotting should be avoided. This will prevent bleeding.
After the procedure, you need to reduce any physical activity. Rhesus-negative women are given an immunoglobulin course to rule out rhesus conflict. Sometimes it is necessary to prescribe painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs.
The main argument in favor of the analysis is the ability to determine the condition of the fetus with high accuracy. About it further.
What pathologies does it reveal?
Examination of amniotic fluid and fetal cells can diagnose the following anomalies:
- chromosomal: trisomy 21, Down syndrome and others;
- hereditary: Tay-Sachs disease, sickle cell anemia, hemophilia, muscular dystrophy, cystic fibrosis, etc .;
- intrauterine infections: herpes, rubella, toxoplasmosis, cytomegalovirus;
In addition, by such a study, you can determine the blood type, Rh factor and sex of the baby. Based on the test results, a decision is made on further tactics of pregnancy management.