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An amniocentesis is a procedure to take a sample of the amniotic fluid that surrounds your baby in the uterus. The fluid is sent to the lab for tests. This procedure is used to look for problems with your baby's brain or spinal cord, or neural tube defects. A neural tube defect is when the baby's spinal cord or skull does not completely close. An amniocentesis can also show how much your baby's lungs have developed.


Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

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


Rest as much as possible for 24 hours after the procedure. Ask your primary healthcare provider when you can return to your normal activities. Ask him if you should avoid lifting heavy objects and for how long. Do not have sex for 24 hours after the amniocentesis.

Return to work:

Ask your primary healthcare provider if you may return to work after your procedure. If you do go back to work, rest or sit as much as possible.

Wellness tips:

  • Eat a variety of healthy foods: This may help you have more energy and heal faster. Healthy foods include fruit, vegetables, whole-grain breads, low-fat dairy products, beans, lean meat, and fish. Ask if you need to be on a special diet.
  • Drink liquids as directed: Adults should drink between 9 and 13 eight-ounce cups of liquid every day. Ask what amount is best for you. For most people, good liquids to drink are water, juice, and milk.
  • Get plenty of exercise: Talk to your caregiver about the best exercise plan for you. Exercise can decrease your blood pressure and improve your health.
  • Do not smoke: If you smoke, it is never too late to quit. You are more likely to have heart disease, lung disease, cancer, and other health problems if you smoke. Quitting smoking will improve your health and the health of those around you. If you smoke, ask for information about how to stop.
  • Manage stress: Stress may slow healing and cause illness. Learn new ways to relax, such as deep breathing.

Contact your primary 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 questions or concerns about your pregnancy or your amniocentesis.

Seek care immediately or call 911 if:

  • You have pain or cramping in your abdomen that does not go away or gets worse.
  • You have a fever and bloody or pink liquid is coming from your vagina.

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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.