Amniocentesis Procedure, Essay Example

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Essay

Recommended Amniocentesis During Pregnancy: A Personal Choice

An Amniocentesis is a test that is typically performed between the 15th and 18th week of pregnancy. While it is used to as an assessment of chromosome abnormalities, it commonly presents anxiety and concern for expecting mothers (Collier, 2009). The test is offered to most pregnant women and is especially recommended for those with a family history of certain diseases or having the potential to deliver prematurely. While the pain involved with the procedure is a leading concern for mothers, a larger consideration is the risk of miscarriage. There is a potential of damage to the fetus, however according to Sun, Hsia & Shett, research shows that pregnancy loss is only about .5%, which means the test is relatively safe (2008). Even though it is invasive and scary for a new mother it generally does not create a risk to mothers or their unborn fetus.

While the testing is meant to determine the possibility of diseases such as Downs Syndrome, neural tube defects such as Spina bifida and others it is the implications afterwards that are concerning. It is estimated that 1 out of 3 women choose to end their pregnancies with the results of an amniocentesis test (Durand, et al, 2010). While this is perfectly legal and their own right, it is concerning to me that the testing could present incorrect results. While it is considered to be 99% accurate, to me it seems that there is always that possibility for incorrect readings. The screening process is a good one for those parents that would consider aborting the pregnancy in the case of genetic diseases. If the woman is over 35 or concerned with a genetic disease, it may be necessary to ease the woman’s mind to whether or not her fetus may have a disorder. It would then be her decision as to whether or not to carry the pregnancy to term. Some argue that knowing may assist the parents in preparing for a special needs child, which is a good argument.

Personally, I agree with the testing process and would recommend women to carry out the testing if their treating doctor suggests it. It can be used as a precautionary method and gives the parents insight as to potential disease and disability with their unborn child. It is then the mother’s choice as to how to handle the results and make choices that would impact her pregnancy. There is some danger that is possible with an Amniocentesis, however it is only a small risk. The benefit outweighs the risk at only a .5% chance of an ended pregnancy. The other concern is the emotional distress that a pregnant woman endures during and while waiting for the test results. This again presents such a low risk to the mother that it is relatively harmless. Granted it is difficult to wait, but the woman has a choice as to whether or not to engage in the testing process, which further mitigates the concern. Overall I believe that the testing process should be used in high-risk pregnancies, and would recommend it.

References

Collier, R. (2009). Prenatal DNA Test Raises Both Hopes and Worries. CMAJ: Canadian Medical Association Journal, 180(7), 705-706.

Durand, M., Stiel, M., Boivin, J., & Elwyn, G. (2010). Information and Decision Support Needs of Parents Considering Amniocentesis: Interviews With Pregnant Women & Health Professionals. Health Expectations, 13(2), 125-138.

Sun, J., Hsia, P., & Shett, S. (2008). Women of Advanced Maternal Age Undergoing Amniocentesis: A period of Uncertainty. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 17(21), 2829-2837.

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