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What you need to know about an amniocentesis:

An amniocentesis is a procedure that is done to take a sample of amniotic fluid. Amniotic fluid surrounds your baby inside the amniotic sac. This procedure is done to diagnose certain birth defects and genetic conditions. Genetic conditions are health conditions that are passed down from parents to their baby. An amniocentesis may also show infection or how developed your baby's lungs are later in your pregnancy.

What will happen during an amniocentesis:

Your healthcare provider will use an ultrasound to find your baby's position. He will find an area where he can safely take a sample of fluid. Your healthcare provider may apply local anesthesia to numb the area. He will insert a thin needle through your abdomen, uterus, and into the amniotic sac. He will remove about 1 ounce of amniotic fluid. A small bandage will be placed over the puncture site. The sample of fluid will be sent to a lab for tests.

What will happen after an amniocentesis:

Your healthcare provider will ask you to rest on your right side for 15 to 20 minutes. You may have mild cramping or spotting after this procedure. You may also have pain or bruising at the puncture site. These symptoms usually go away on their own. Your healthcare provider may recommend that you avoid strenuous activities for 24 hours. These include jogging, aerobic exercise, and sex.

Risks of an amniocentesis:

You may get an infection in your uterus. You may have vaginal bleeding or leak amniotic fluid from your vagina. You may go into early labor. The needle could injure your baby during the procedure. Rarely, amniocentesis may cause you to have a miscarriage. This risk is higher if you have the amniocentesis before 15 weeks of pregnancy.

Seek care immediately if:

  • You have severe pain or cramping in your abdomen or back.
  • You have blood or fluid coming from your vagina.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • You are more than 20 weeks pregnant and your baby is moving much more or much less after the amniocentesis.
  • You have a fever or chills.
  • You have redness or swelling at the injection site.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.


  • Return to activities as directed. Avoid strenuous activities for 24 hours after the amniocentesis. These include jogging, aerobic exercise, and sex.
  • Ask your healthcare provider if you can return to work after your procedure. If you do go back to work, rest or sit as much as possible.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.