During an amniocentesis test, a small sample of amniotic fluid surrounding the fetus of a pregnant woman is extracted by a needle inserted through the abdomen into the uterus. The fluid is used for a variety of tests that can determine the sex of the child, the state of development, and the presence of various abnormalities
Intended to help plan for medical treatment before or immediately after birth, today this procedure is often the prelude to abortion.
Risks are always associated with any invasive medical procedure. In amniocentesis, the risks to the baby include needle pricks to various parts of the body, perforation of the soft parts of the skull, penetration of the chest, and injury to fetal blood vessels.
Risks to the mother include puncture of uterine blood vessels with subsequent hemorrhaging, infection within the uterine blood vessels with subsequent hemorrhaging, infection within the uterine cavity, premature rupture of the membranes allowing leaking of amniotic fluid from the mother, and premature labour.