Cordocentesis carries potentially serious risks, including:

  • Pregnancy loss. Cordocentesis carries a higher risk of miscarriage than other prenatal diagnostic tests, such as chorionic villus sampling and amniocentesis. Some research estimates the risk as high as 3 percent for the general population. Since many babies are quite ill when the test is done, it's often difficult to determine whether fetal loss is related to the procedure itself or to the baby's health.
  • Bleeding. Bleeding from the area where the needle was inserted is possible.
  • Slowing of the baby's heart rate. The baby's heart rate might slow temporarily after cordocentesis.
  • Infection. Rarely, cordocentesis can lead to a uterine infection.

Ultimately, the decision to have cordocentesis is up to you. Your health care provider or genetic counselor can help you weigh all the factors in the decision.

Oct. 13, 2012