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What is it? Overview Usage Side Effects and Warnings

Amniocentesis Overview

Written by FoundHealth.


Amniocentesis is the removal of a small amount of fluid from the uterus (womb). This fluid, called amniotic fluid, surrounds a developing baby.

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What to Expect


Your doctor may give you local anesthesia. This numbs a small area.

Description of the Procedure

This is usually done when you are 16 weeks pregnant.

First, your doctor will do an ultrasound to choose a safe spot to insert the needle. Your abdomen will be cleaned. Next, the doctor will insert a very thin needle through the abdomen into the uterus. A few teaspoons of amniotic fluid will be taken out. After the needle is removed, the doctor will make sure that your baby's heartbeat is normal. In most cases, an ultrasound will be used throughout the procedure.

How Long Will It Take?

About 45 minutes—20 minutes to locate the fetus and insert the needle, 5 minutes to withdraw the fluid, 15-20 minutes to rest after the procedure

Will It Hurt?

You may feel cramping when the needle enters your uterus. You may also feel pressure when the fluid is withdrawn.

Post-procedure Care

When you return home after the procedure, do the following to help ensure a smooth recovery:

  • For the first few hours, avoid physical stress.
  • Rest for the first 24 hours. Avoid heavy exercise and sexual activity for 24 hours.
  • Be sure to follow your doctor's instructions .

Most women will have normal results.



American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists

March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation


The Canadian Women's Health Network

The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada


Amniocentesis. March of Dimes website. Available at: . Accessed June 5, 2008.

Later childbearing. American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology website. Available at: . Accessed June 5, 2008.



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