In medicine, amniocentesis is called amniocentesis and is an examination of the fluid surrounding the baby in the uterus. This examination of the amniotic fluid gives women the opportunity to find out even before birth whether their child is sick, for example, or whether there is a blood group incompatibility between mother and child. The amniocentesis is covered by health insurance from the age of 35, as the risk of the child becoming ill increases from the age of 35.
The amniocentesis can take place from the 10th week of pregnancy, but it is only recommended to examine in the 10th week under special circumstances. The risk of injuring the child during the examination is significantly lower from the 13th week and therefore most amniocentesis examinations are performed between the 13th and 18th week. Blood group incompatibility testing is only possible from week 30 onwards.
Doctors usually advise pregnant patients to think about an amniocentesis if they discover something in the pregnancy ultrasound, but it cannot be determined 100% by ultrasound or other examinations. Even if the pregnant patient already has one or more children with malformations or hereditary diseases, this can be a reason to advise the patient to have an amniocentesis. If the doctor finds a rhesus incompatibility, an amniocentesis can help to determine whether the child may be suffering from anemia or jaundice.
The amniocentesis is almost painless and only takes about 10-15 minutes. However, it takes several days to weeks until the results are available. In order to keep the risk of injury as low as possible, a sound is made before the puncture.
In this way the position of the child can be determined and punctured as far away from the child as possible. This is important because otherwise the child can be injured or in the worst case a miscarriage can be triggered. It should be noted that in every week of pregnancy and regardless of the doctor, there is always a risk of losing or injuring the child.
While the baby is being scanned, a suitable site for the puncture is found and a thin needle is inserted through the abdominal wall into the uterus. This puncture is often not very painful and is therefore not anaesthetized beforehand. After the insertion, a few milliliters of amniotic fluid are extracted.
The quantity is about 10 ml and max. 20 ml. Then the needle is removed again and the puncture wound is treated.
After the examination, the mother has to keep an approximately one day’s mobility period. This measure significantly reduces the risk of complications. Since the amniotic fluid contains a large number of cells of the child which can be multiplied in the laboratory, the amniocentesis serves as a clear indication of the presence of various genetic defects.
Depending on the diagnostic procedure and the values to be examined, it can take between 2 days and 14 days before the first results are available. Some diseases can be detected before birth by amniocentesis. In most cases, an amniocentesis is performed to examine chromosomal anomalies, i.e. chromosomal changes.
One of the best known chromosomal anomalies is Down’s syndrome, also called trisomy 21. It can also: In addition, the amount of alpha-fetoprotein can be determined, which can give indications of an open back and then the acidity of the amniotic fluid can be examined, so statements about the oxygen content can be made. Unfortunately, not all hereditary diseases and chromosomal changes can be detected by amniocentesis.
Many diseases are so-called mosaic anomalies, which means that not all cells are diseased and therefore it is possible that there are only healthy cells in the examined amniotic fluid and therefore the disease cannot be detected. and Trisomy 18 in the unborn child
- The Pätau syndrome (trisomy 13)
- The Edwards Syndrome (Trisomy 18)
- Trisomy 8
- Trisomy 9
- Malformations, like cleft lip and palate
Miscarriage is probably one of the most feared risks. Depending on the source, the complication rate with regard to miscarriages is 0.6% to 1.5%.
Consequently, the risk of miscarriage is very low.Among the more common risks are
- Bruises at the injection site
- Bleeding into the uterus
- Injuries to the uterus
- Injuries to the child
- Injuries of the placenta
- Contractions of the uterus
Apart from the amniocentesis, there are other ways to examine different diseases. These include the following possibilities: Chorionic villus sampling, umbilical cord puncture, triple test and then a new blood test, which is only approved in Germany since 2012. Please consult your doctor to find out which test is best for you. All tests contain risks and possible complications.