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Your doctor may recommend an amniocentesis because of advanced maternal age (e.g., 35 or older), your family history, or because other prenatal screenings may have revealed a risk that the baby may have an inherited or congenital condition. Amniocentesis can also be used to test the amniotic fluid for signs of fetal infection or for a fetal protein known as alpha-fetoprotein, or AFP. AFP is used when checking for spina bifida (open spine defects). 

Any diagnostic procedure carries some risk. Our physicians and the genetic counselors will explain the test and risks so you can make an informed decision about whether to proceed.

his procedure is usually performed in or after the second trimester of pregnancy (starting at about 16 weeks gestation).

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