Amniocentesis is usually performed between the 16th and 20th weeks of pregnancy. Using ultrasound to see the position of the baby, the doctor guides a thin needle through the mother's abdominal wall and into the sac surrounding the fetus. A small amount of fluid is removed for analysis. The cells from the fluid are used to diagnose large chromosomal abnormalities, such as Down syndrome. Additional testing is available for more specific genetic diseases that may run in families.
When performed by an experienced physician, amniocentesis is a safe procedure. Complications occur in about one in 200 cases. A miscarriage occurs about one in 300 cases. Chromosome results are usually available in 10 to 14 days. Results of biochemical tests done in outside laboratories are usually available in two to four weeks.
We have prepared an instruction sheet that describes the steps you will go through after the procedure: Post-Amniocentesis Instructions (pdf*).
In order to expedite the scheduling process, we ask that you complete the Request for Appointment Form (pdf*) and return it to us via fax at (310) 423-9939. A patient representative will then contact you to schedule your appointment for the procedure. If you prefer, you may also schedule an appointment by contacting our office directly at (310) 423-9999.
You can read, download, and complete the Amniocentesis Procedure Packet (pdf*) before you arrive. Please bring these forms with you on the day of your procedure.
For all other information, please call (310) 423-9990.