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Amniocentesis is a test offered in the second trimester of pregnancy. A small sample of fluid is taken from the amniotic sac using the needle. The amniotic sac is the sac which contains the baby and the fluid around it inside the uterus. This fluid around the baby has baby’s shed cells. These cells are extracted and used to check if there is a chromosomal or any other genetic problem in the baby.


Amniocentesis is offered

a. If prenatal screening shows there is an increased chance of a chromosomal problem like Down syndrome,
b. If an ultrasound scan identifies a structural problem in the baby that requires further testing, or
c. If there is a family history of a chromosomal problem or a known genetic condition.

Getting the test done is completely your choice. We can suggest what is good practice based on evidence-based medicine. Knowing all the pros and cons, you can accept or decline the testing.


It is usually done after 15 completed weeks. It can be done uptil any time, however, in the third trimester the number of cells in the fluid decreases, so might not be able to give any result. We usually do it between 16 to 20-24 weeks. The MTP act allows termination till 20 weeks, hence we prefer, it to be done earlier than 20 weeks.

Amniocentesis is done by fetal medicine specialists and will take a few minutes only. You do not need a full bladder. First, a scan is done to look at the position of the baby and the placenta. This helps to guide the needle into the womb. The fluid should be clear and yellow. It is baby’s urine which will get naturally replaced in a day or two.

What you feel is only a prick as the needle goes through the skin into the fluid around the baby. A little pressure is felt as the fluid is withdrawn into the syringe. So, most women feel slight discomfort but no pain.
What are the risks involved?

There is minimal risk of miscarriage about 1: 1000. We do not know why it happens or to whom it will happen. It does not cause any birth defects or any harm to the mother. The risk of infection is also very low, 1 in 1000.

What happens after the procedure?

You are made to rest for half an hour after the procedure. The fetal heart beat is checked and then you are sent home. Most women have no problems, but you might have a bruise, spotting or cramping. If you do, paracetamol is safe to take. If you have a persistent pain, leaking, bleeding or a high temperature, then you need to go to the hospital.


You can consult with Dr. Neha Gupta. She is one of the best fetal medicine specialists and is experienced in handling lots of pregnant women to take care of their unborn baby. Contact us to get the appointment and discuss it with her.