Is prenatal diagnosis safe?

Any invasive procedure carries a risk to the baby, although small. Early on, there is a risk of miscarriage after CVS and amniocentesis. Later on (beyond 16 weeks) amniocentesis may cause infection and late miscarriage; cordocentesis (puncturing the baby''s umbilical cord and taking some blood) may also cause fetal loss. These risks are minimized in expert hands, and don''t forget that the reason why you have been offered invasive testing often means it is important for a diagnosis to be made. Weigh up the risks with your consultant; the risk of losing your pregnancy from these three techniques ranges from 1 to 3% over the normal (background) fetal loss (miscarriage) rate.
Amniocentesis: Guiding the needle

First, to help the doctor be absolutely precise when inserting the needle, an ultrasound scanner is used to establish the exact position of the fetus and the placenta. Second a fine needle is inserted into the womb and into a pool of amniotic fluid.

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