Health Tests

Medical Content Created by the Faculty of the
Harvard Medical School

1SHARES

What Happens During the Test?

You wear a hospital gown and lie on your back on a table. An ultrasound is done to show the location of the fetus and placenta. Your lower abdomen is cleaned with an antibacterial soap. In some cases, the doctor uses a small needle to inject a numbing medicine just under the skin, so you do not feel the amniocentesis sampling needle later. (Because the sampling needle does not cause much more stinging than the numbing medicine itself, not every doctor includes this step.)

The hollow sampling needle is several inches long and is inserted through the skin and abdominal muscle and then through the wall of the uterus. A syringe attached to the needle is used to collect a sample of fluid.

The baby's heart tones and the mother's blood pressure and heart rate are checked at the beginning and end of the procedure. The whole procedure takes close to 30 minutes.

Page 3 of 6     Next Page:  Amniocentesis Risks
From Health A-Z, Harvard Health Publications. Copyright 2007 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Written permission is required to reproduce, in any manner, in whole or in part, the material contained herein. To make a reprint request, contact Harvard Health Publications. Used with permission of StayWell.

You can find more great health information on the Harvard Health Publications website.