Go to Content Go to Navigation Go to Navigation Go to Site Search Homepage

An amniocentesis test is a procedure where a doctor takes a small sample of amniotic fluid from your uterus. It helps find certain birth defects.

What is amniocentesis?

Amniocentesis tests your amniotic fluid — the fluid that surrounds and protects the fetus inside your uterus. Cells from the fetus that float in the fluid can be examined for chromosomal defects, like Down syndrome. The fluid can also be tested for neural tube defects, such as spina bifida.

The test results are usually ready within a few weeks. They are more than 99 percent accurate in spotting chromosome defects, such as Down syndrome. They also detect nearly all open neural tube defects.

Amniocentesis is usually done between your 15th and 20th weeks of pregnancy.

Your doctor may recommend amniocentesis if:

  • you’re 35 years old or older

  • your multiple marker screening shows that you need more testing

  • you have a family history that increases the risk of certain birth defects or other disorders

  • you’ve had a child with a major birth defect

Amniocentesis is usually painless and safe. But there is a small risk of miscarriage after amniocentesis. Fewer than one out of 100 women who have it will have a miscarriage. You get to decide which, if any, genetic tests you want to have done.

How is amniocentesis done?

You’ll have your amniocentesis at your doctor’s office. Your doctor puts a long, thin needle through your belly and into your uterus and takes out a small sample of fluid. They look at an ultrasound to help guide the needle.

Amniocentesis usually doesn’t hurt. Most people say they have a little discomfort or no pain at all.

How much does an amniocentesis cost?

The cost of an amniocentesis procedure depends on where you get it and whether you have insurance. Many insurance plans cover at least some of the cost of an amniocentesis, but check with your insurance company to be sure.

If you don’t have insurance or your plan doesn’t cover amniocentesis, you’ll have to pay for it yourself. Your doctor’s office can give you more info about how much an amniocentesis costs, and what type of payment plans they have.

More questions from patients:

What are the amniocentesis risks?

Your doctor or nurse may suggest amniocentesis as a part of prenatal care. It’s usually painless and safe. Most people say they have a little discomfort or no pain at all.

There’s a small risk of miscarriage after amniocentesis. Fewer than 1 out of 100 women who have it will have a miscarriage.

Was this page helpful?
You’re the best! Thanks for your feedback.
Thanks for your feedback.

Planned Parenthood cares about your data privacy. We and our third-party vendors use cookies and other tools to collect, store, monitor, and analyze information about your interaction with our site to improve performance, analyze your use of our sites and assist in our marketing efforts. You may opt out of the use of these cookies and other tools at any time by visiting Cookie Settings. By clicking “Allow All Cookies” you consent to our collection and use of such data, and our Terms of Use. For more information, see our Privacy Notice.

Cookie Settings

Planned Parenthood cares about your data privacy. We and our third-party vendors, use cookies, pixels, and other tracking technologies to collect, store, monitor, and process certain information about you when you access and use our services, read our emails, or otherwise engage with us. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences, or your device. We use that information to make the site work, analyze performance and traffic on our website, to provide a more personalized web experience, and assist in our marketing efforts. We also share information with our social media, advertising, and analytics partners. You can change your default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of required cookies when utilizing our site; this includes necessary cookies that help our site to function (such as remembering your cookie preference settings). For more information, please see our Privacy Notice.

Marketing

On

We use online advertising to promote our mission and help constituents find our services. Marketing pixels help us measure the success of our campaigns.

Performance

On

We use qualitative data to learn about your user experience and improve our products and services.