Getting to know that your unborn is exposed to the risk of genetic disorders can be agonising.
Your doctor will ask you to undergo diagnostic tests such as an amniocentesis procedure
Some confirmatory tests might carry a small percentage of risk, and so does amniocentesis.
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Risk Factors after Amniocentesis Procedure:
- Amniotic infection
- Pain and leakage
- Rh issues
- Passing of pre-existing disease
- Club foot
Amniocentesis done before 15 weeks of gestation is prone to have a higher risk of miscarriage when compared to the amniocentesis procedure done after the 15th week.
Most miscarriages happen within 3 days of the procedure. But in rare cases, it might occur 2 weeks later.
In general, amniocentesis is an invasive procedure, hence can carry a small risk (less than 1%) of miscarriage. This is lesser than the percentage of fetal loss naturally occurring in many women by the second trimester.
Clinical symptoms, like a temperature rise, start 24 to 36 hours after the amniocentesis procedure.
Pain and leakage:
Research indicates amniotic fluid leakage and premature rupture of membranes after amniocentesis can rarely occur after the procedure. This might be because of a small hole in the amniotic membrane, which almost always repairs itself.
It is common to have period-like cramps and light vaginal spotting for a few hours after the amniocentesis procedure.
Rhesus disease (Rh issues):
Rh is a protein found on the surface of red blood cells.
If you are an Rh-negative patient (meaning you do not have Rh proteins on your red blood cells), you will likely pass the same to your baby.
This is because an amniocentesis procedure can cause a small amount of baby’s blood to mix with your blood.
To help protect your baby, you may get an Rh immune globulin shot after an amnio.
Passing of pre-existing disease:
If you have a pre-existing disease like HIV, you might likely pass this to your baby when there is a mix of bloodstream during the procedure.
There is an increased risk of your baby developing clubfoot (deformity of the ankle and foot) if the amnio procedure is performed before 15 weeks of gestation.
When to call your doctor?
You must watch out for the side effects of amniocentesis to reach out to your medical practitioner at the right time.
Call your doctor immediately if,
- The amniotic leakage persists for more than two weeks
- Cramps last more than a few hours
- You have a high temperature with chills and shivering
- Vaginal discharge or bleeding lasts for more than 24 hours
- There is a swelling in the area where the needle was inserted
- You feel any changes in the baby’s movements
All these side effects of the amniocentesis procedure would be explained to you by your doctor.
If your test shows an abnormal result, you will be offered genetic counseling to discuss the next options and support.