Amniocentesis is a word pregnant mothers aren’t anxious to hear. It’s one of the more controversial tests during pregnancy that some mothers anxiously wait for and others flat out refuse. The rational of each mother differs by her personality as well as by each of her pregnancies. When it comes to the amnio, there is no right or wrong answer.
Both procedures involve a long needle entering the uterus through the mother’s abdomen. The needle pierces the skin and travels into the uterine environment – an environment that is usually completely sealed off from the outside world. The penetration and disruption of this environment is why many mothers feel either procedure is too risky. Others feel the risks of the test are justified by the knowledge they gain.
Risks and Benefits of Testing
Women are willing to take these risks however, because no tests to date are more effective at determining the presence of genetic or chromosomal disease. If such as disease is present, parents may have the option to terminate the pregnancy if complications are greater than the baby’s chance at life. Other parents would never abort a despite the severity of a problem, but appreciate the extra time to prepare themselves and their families for a child with special needs or a child with a very short anticipated lifespan.
While these tests can’t catch every problem, in the majority of cases they reassure parents that there are no genetic or chromosomal problems evident with their babies, and for parents who are carriers of such conditions, this can be a huge relief. Amnio is also used near the end of complicated pregnancies to check lung maturity in premature babies who need to be delivered early. Once lungs are mature, the baby needs much less support on the outside of the womb. A side benefit of testing early in the pregnancy is parents will know with certainty the gender of their baby weeks before it is discernable on ultrasound.
As it stands, some mothers are strongly encouraged to test:
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