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Genetic Testing for Pregnancy


Updated February 21, 2014

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Amniocentesis image

Amniocentesis is done with ultrasound guidance.

Photo © A.D.A.M.

Why the test is done:

This test can be used to determine if your baby has a chromosomal disorder or for fetal lung maturity.

How the test is done:

A small needle is placed through the abdomen into the uterus to collect a small sample of amniotic fluid. Ultrasound is used to guide the needle away from the baby and the placenta.

When the test is done:

Genetic disorders testing can be done as early as 11 weeks until the end of pregnancy. Fetal lung maturity is done before the decision is made to induce or let premature labor continue, usually after 34 weeks.

How the results are given:

Depends on the test done.

Where do you go from here?

Genetic disorders that are detected will be referred to the genetic counselor for further counseling and decision making. Fetal lung maturity will be decided to wait and re-test or to go ahead with the birth or induction.

Alternative Tests:

The chorionic villus sampling (CVS) test is available earlier in pregnancy.

Other Resources:

Related Video
How Does Chorionic Villus Sampling Work?
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