Amniocentesis is a medical procedure performed during pregnancy to obtain a small amount of fluid f...
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Amniocentesis is a medical procedure performed during pregnancy to obtain a small amount of fluid from the amniotic sac. The amniotic sac and fluid surround and protect the fetus. Live skin cells from the fetus are shed into the fluid. An amniocentesis test is performed with ultrasound to guide the procedure and avoid harming the fetus. The fluid is obtained by inserting a fine needle through the abdomen into the uterus and withdrawing a small amount of amniotic fluid. Examining DNA from skin cells in the fluid can identify a genetic disorder or chromosome abnormality such as Down's syndrome. Amniocentesis is usually performed between the 16th and 20th weeks of pregnancy.