Amniocentesis carries various risks, including:

  • Leaking amniotic fluid. Rarely, amniotic fluid leaks through the vagina after amniocentesis. However, in most cases the amount of fluid lost is small and stops within one week, and the pregnancy is likely to proceed normally.
  • Miscarriage. Second-trimester amniocentesis carries a slight risk of miscarriage — between 1 in 300 and 1 in 500. Research suggests that the risk of pregnancy loss is higher for amniocentesis done before 15 weeks of pregnancy.
  • Needle injury. During amniocentesis the baby might move an arm or leg into the path of the needle. Serious needle injuries are rare.
  • Rh sensitization. Rarely, amniocentesis might cause the baby's blood cells to enter the mother's bloodstream. If you have Rh negative blood and you haven't developed antibodies to Rh positive blood, you'll be given an injection of a blood product called Rh immune globulin after amniocentesis. This will prevent your body from producing Rh antibodies that can cross the placenta and damage the baby's red blood cells. A blood test can detect if you've begun to produce antibodies.
  • Infection. Very rarely, amniocentesis might trigger a uterine infection.
  • Infection transmission. If you have an infection — such as hepatitis C, toxoplasmosis or HIV/AIDS — the infection might be transferred to your baby during amniocentesis.

Remember, genetic amniocentesis is typically offered when the test results might have a significant impact on management of the pregnancy. Ultimately, the decision to have genetic amniocentesis is up to you. Your health care provider or genetic counselor can help you weigh all the factors in the decision.

Oct. 13, 2015