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Amniocentesis, Essay Example

Pages: 2

Words: 623

Essay

Amniocentesis: Benefits and Risks of Assessing the Health of the Baby

Amniocentesis is a medical procedure used to detect birth defects and evaluate the health of a fetus in utero. It is commonly performed on women over 35orwhen either parent has a family history of genetic disorders. Choosing to have an amniocentesis is a personal decision and knowing the risks and benefits can help parents to determine whether the procedure is right for them. The purpose of this paper is to evaluate whether the benefits of amniocentesis outweigh the risks.

Amniocentesisuses a long needle to extract fluid from theamniotic sac which surrounds the baby in utero.An ultrasound is required to detect the baby’s position and ensure its maximum safety. After the amniotic fluid is collected, it is sent to a laboratory for analysis of thealpha-fetoprotein, which will help to determine the baby’s risk for chromosome abnormalities, genetic disorders, and neural tube defects. According to the American Pregnancy Association in 2006, an amniocentesis is usually performed between weeks 14 and 20 of gestation.

This procedure is recommended to women with an increased risk of having a baby with birth defects. These risks include a family history of birth defectsand genetic disorders or if the mother is older than 35.  An amniocentesis may be advised if the results of a routine prenatal screening test are positive. It may also be performed during the third trimester to assess potential infection, monitor fetal lung development, and to determine any Rh incompatibility between the mother and baby.

Amniocentesis can provide parents with important information regarding the development and health of their baby. If there is an infection or delayed lung development, necessary treatments can be administered as early as possible.Amniocentesis can inform parents if their child will have a disorder such as Down’s syndromeor cystic fibrosis, and help them to better prepare for their child’s specific needs and health concerns.Having an amniocentesis may also help parents to prepare for genetic diseases such as Tay-Sach’s disease, where the outcome is always fatal for the baby.

The risks of having this procedure include miscarriage,infection or injury to the baby, vaginal bleeding, or leaking of amniotic fluid. For these reasons, an amniocentesisis not a routine procedure; rather it is advised only when necessary. Caution must taken if there are problems with the placenta or the mother has a history of premature delivery or an incompetent cervix.

Though there are risks to having an amniocentesis, this procedure can greatly assist parents in increasing their knowledge about the development and treatment of their baby. If I was advised to have an amniocentesis, I would elect to do it because I would want to be able to use the knowledge to ensure my baby’s optimal health. If there was concern over lung maturity or infection, timing of treatment is imperative. If I was over 35 and the baby had an increased risk of having a genetic disorder I would want to prepare and make more informed decisions regarding the specific needs that my baby will require. If I knew that the baby would face challenges such as spina bifida or cystic fibrosis, I would want to be able to provide it with best possible quality of life. And though I may want to carry the baby to term, if there was a diagnosis of a disease such as Tay-Sachs, I may decide to spare the baby of a painful life and early death and terminate the pregnancy. Either way, I would want to be as prepared and informed as possible for any potential decisions and outcomes.

Work Cited

“Amniocentesis.” American Pregnancy Association: Promoting Pregnancy Wellness. 2006. Web. 29 Dec 2012. <http://www.americanpregnancy.org/prenataltesting/amniocentesis.html>.

Mayo Clinic Staff, . “Amniocentesis.” Mayo Clinic. 10 2012. Web. 29 Dec 2012.<http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/amniocentesis/MY00155>.

Stoppler, Melissa. “Amniocentesis.” MedicineNet. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 Dec 2012.<http://www.medicinenet.com/amniocentesis/article.htm>.

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