thread: Amniocentesis

  1. #1
    Life Member

    May 2003
    Beautiful Adelaide!


    Hi all,

    I have had a scary month or so recently. I went for my NT scan at 12 weeks, and the scan showed nothing to worry about in connection with Downs. However, the results of my blood tests (Triple Test) came back, and to our horror, showed the risk of Downs/chromosonal abnormalities to be 1:245.

    You can imagine how very distressing this was for us, and it caused a lot of tears and heartache when we found that the recommendation was for me to have an amniocentesis, in order to clarify the results. (The blood test is only a screening test, the amnio is diagnostic and gives a yes/no result)

    One of the problems with an amniocentesis is that the procedure carries a risk of miscarriage (approx 1:200) which understandably is a scary risk. Although this risk is often lessened, depending on the expertise of the practitioner performing the procedure. (I checked with my OB for instance and his personal risk stats are 1: 374).

    The other problem with an amniocentesis is that you find out you need one at approx 12 weeks, and they like to perform it (to minimise the risk of MC) at 16 weeks, so there is a long wait before you actually have the procedure, which can be stressful.

    We found that the waiting was excrutiating, especially as one of the questions running round in everyones head is "What do we do if the baby is shown to have severe disabilities?".

    Finally I had the procedure. I had read up as much as I could on the procedure itself: basically the Dr gives you a small amout of local anaesthetic on your tummy, uses ultrasound so he can see exactly where the baby is, and then uses a long thing needle to extract amniotic fluid from the sac around the baby, through your tummy. It took about 10 minutes all up.

    I found that the procedure wasn't painful at all.....a little tiny bit uncomfortable, but not painful. To be honest, it was a relief to get it over with.

    The signs of an impending MC are cramping, which I did get, but only for a few hours afterwards. I was told to rest up that day and take it easy, which I did, & the cramps were all gone by the next day, which was a relief.

    Then we had MORE waiting, for the actual results. The fluid that is extracted is left to form a culture and grow so that the cells can be tested for all manner of chromosonal abnormalities. As such, the results take 2 weeks to come back, & the waiting feels like forever. You can get some of the results back more quickly by requesting Fast FISH results, but this does cost extra.

    Anyway, we have finally had our results back today, and I am glad to report that all of the results are clear and NORMAL and show no abnormalities at all. (You can imagine the utter relief I am experiencing!)

    The one positive about having an amnio is that you do get the option to find the sex of your baby, which is 100% accurate. For me, that kind of made up for all the stress and waiting!

    Sorry this is such a long post, but I wanted to detail my experience, just in case any of our other Belly Belly girls are faced with having to go for an amniocentesis.

  2. #2

    Woohoo at everything being clear Lucy. I am so happy for you all !!!


  3. #3
    Debbie Lee Guest

    That's great that it all turned out to be clear, Lucy.

    Can I ask a question? Tell me to shove it if it offends you or anything...

    Given the value of hindsight, would you have the NT scan again knowing the stress it put you through?

    I only ask because I opted not to have the NT scan. I decided that I didn't want to know the so-called "risks" as I was determined that I did not want to have an amnio. I know this is a verrrry personal choice (which I why I ask this question with the utmost respect).

    I was a little annoyed when I went for my first ultrasound and the sonographer announced that the nuchal fold looked normal. I didn't say anything to him but I was annoyed because I had expressed quite firmly that I had no interest in testing at all for downs. I guess it's a communication thing with the hospital.

    Anyway, once again I am so happy for you that everything turned out to be normal and you can relax for the rest of your pregnancy!!

  4. #4
    BellyBelly Life Member

    Jul 2004
    House of the crazy cat ladies...

    YAY Lucy, that much be such a relief for all of you!!!!

  5. #5
    Jackie Guest

    Lucy that is excellent, must be such a relief you.

    If/when I conceive I am supposed to be having one, due to my age, seems there is a higher risk for "older" woman. I'm so glad you posted this, as I was wandering what it would be like..

  6. #6
    Life Member

    May 2003
    Beautiful Adelaide!

    Thanks girls......

    Jackie....glad you found it useful.....when you concieve (not if, because I am sure you will!) & if you do need to go for the amnio, please feel free to ask me any more questions.

    Debbie, you ask a really good question actually:

    Given the value of hindsight, would you have the NT scan again knowing the stress it put you through?
    When I was finally pg with Olivia my OB asked me if I wanted the NT scan & explained that if I no intention to act upon a negative result, then there was no point. So when I was pg with her, I chose not to have the NT scan, or the triple test, so the amnio possibility never eventuated. We waited such a long time to concieve her, plus I had had a late miscarriage in an earlier pregnancy, so NOTHING would have made me place any risk on that pregnancy.

    My same OB asked me the question again with this pregnancy & for some reason, my gut reaction was different. I don't know why, but I did feel differently about testing this time around. I have questioned this myself at length over the past few weeks, and can't come up with a reason why I felt differently, but most likely just maternal gut plus the fact that I am lso very lucky to be blessed with Olivia who is quite perfect in every way.

    It is a very personal choice, and I probably went to have the NT scan with a relatively naive pepspective, ie "Olivia is perfect, there will be no risk with this baby" & of course my triple test results dispoved me of my "smugness" and really forced me and DH to question what we would do if our amnio results were indicative of chromosonal abnormalities. It was a tough time for both of us and caused a lot of tears.

    In hindsight, with this good news under my belt, I kind of wish I had avoided the whole business. However, if I am truthful, I am glad I had all the testing because I can now properly enjoy the rest of my pregnancy, & I didn't have that luxury with Olivia.

    Not sure if that explains my choices or my thinking? It is a really tough one, that each couple probably should discuss at lenghth before the NT scan is done. Either way, I guess in this day & age we are all lucky, in as much as at least we have the choice. (My Granny, in the late 1930's, gave birth to a baby with Cystic Fibrosis, for example, and he died at only a few weeks old. That type of heartache, these days, maybe can be avoided, through testing?)

    (Again, sorry for the long post, but as you can imagine, it is a subject close to my heart at the moment!)

  7. #7
    Jackie Guest

    Thanks Lucy, I'm sure I'll be bombarding you with questions. If I start to get you nerves just make sure you tell me

  8. #8
    Registered User

    Jan 2004
    Melbourne, Australia

    Lucy, thanks for the post - it was very interesting. I have to say that I really think that this NT scan is overmedicalising (OK - I made that word up!!) pregnancy. I think that is what you and Deb are sort of saying. IMO it is silly giving women under 36 an NT scan as their risk of Downs is negligible and it just gives people unnecessary worry. There are many other things that can go wrong, so testing for something just because you can seems a bit silly to me. But giving it to women over the "risk" age is sensible.
    I was 40 when I had DD and was a control freak about the whole thing and had an amnio. I had no ill effects at all and everything was OK. If I am lucky enough to get pg. again, I will be having the NT and the blood test (that was not done routinely when I had DD) and if they come back as OK, I will NOT be having an amnio. I have a 43 year old friend that had an amnio and miscarried 2 weeks later (at 20 weeks) for reasons unknown. That bothered me. and I think I would continue with the pg. even if the news was bad. Lucy, I have a lot of time for "maternal gut instinct" so things could change if I get to that stage.
    I am so glad everything came back well for you - makes you wonder how the preliminary test can give a not so great result. I must research that a bit more.

  9. #9
    layla Guest

    Lucy, huge congrats on your baby being fine!! :smt038 What a relief after all that waiting and worrying.
    I take it then that you guys are keeping the baby's sex a secret?????

    Anney, I have a close friend who was 24 when she gave birth to a son with Down Syndrome. She is involved with anumber of support groups and social groups for families with Downs and over half the mums are under 35!
    The testing was not routinely offered 10 years ago to women under 35 and this resulted in a huge number of affected babies being born to younger mums. The age related risk thing is actually a bit missinterpreted, there is not that much of an increased risk until a woman reaches her forties. I think that testing should be available to all pg women, regardless of age, so that they have the same choices and opportunities. It should be every womans choice to have the option to test.
    Just my opinion. Sorry if I've offended. 8-[

  10. #10
    Debbie Lee Guest

    Thanks Lucy. I am glad I didn't offend you.
    My mind-set was similar to yours when you chose not to be tested with Olivia. We tried for 12 months to conceive this baby so I wasn't about to give it up or risk a miscarriage.
    I had heard so many stories of women being told via testing (including amnio) that their babies would have downs and then they babies have turned out to be perfectly fine.
    My beef is that, yeah, they can tell you there is a risk but they can't tell you the severity. It might only be an extremely mild case of downs syndrome and the child will end up leading a very normal and productive life.
    That was why I just didn't want to know. I figured if I had a baby with some problems, that was my cross to bare??
    In saying that, I completely understand why some are not willing to take that risk. I also can see why some would opt for the test especially if genetic problems run in the family.
    Like you said, it is a very personal choice and I guess, in the end, you have to go with your gut instincts, don't you??

  11. #11
    Kirsty77 Guest

    Yeh Lucy......so glad that everything is fine!

    I understand your choice to have it done as I will also be having it done despite my age.I work in the disability field with kids and their family's and for me watching them day in day out I have decided that I would want a test done as I'd be scared as to what sort of quality of life I could provide for them.Sounds harsh considering I love all the kids I work with to death, but its a personl thing.

    And I agree with you Layla I think the test should be available to every single pregnant woman regardless of age or background.

  12. #12
    Life Member

    May 2003
    Beautiful Adelaide!

    You girls are shockers........we did find out the sex, and it was going to be a secret, but DH has been telling everyone so I guess it is OK to spill the beans..............

    We are having a little boy this time round. Needless to say, I wasn't bothered either way, girl or boy, as long as it was healthy, but now I think about it, I am really pleased I can give Olivia a little brother, and really thrilled that I can give the IL's a grandson.........

  13. #13
    Registered User

    Nov 2003

    cngrats on having a boy lucy

    we didnt get a chane to ahve the NTscan because we were over in W.A when i hit the 12 -13 wks whichever it was sposed to be, but at my19 wk scan they said it was normal so I'm hoping things are ok with this baby..

    i would be scared of having an amniocentisis, am glad you posted so if i do need one i wont be as scared.

    take care

  14. #14
    Debbie Lee Guest

    Yay! Congrats on your little boy, Lucy! The perfect little family

  15. #15
    Jackie Guest

    Woohoo, one of each, congrats

  16. #16
    Registered User

    May 2004

    Congratulations on having a BOY Lucy.

  17. #17
    Melody Guest

    Congratulations Lucy!

    On both counts.... a healthy baby boy & a really stressful experience overcome with the best possible result.

    Right after I had my twelve week scan (waiting for results) DH & I discussed the outcomes & what we felt, also the possibility of having to do an amnio. It wasn't a conversation I would consider comfortable.

    Thanks for sharing

  18. #18
    BellyBelly Life Subscriber

    Nov 2003
    SE Melbourne

    Congratulations Lucy

    1. On having a BOY!

    2. On being brave enough to have the amnio done in the first place.

    I have to admit that I was a total wimp and refused the amnio, although my u/s guy and my OB told me it was totally MY choice, which was really nice.

    We had pretty crappy results from the Triple test, I have a 1 in 79 chance of this baby having downs, but after having 4 m/c's and trying for so long to get this baby, there was no way that I would be risking another m/c for anything. I spoke at length with my OB and the u/s guy who both considered my past history and said that the risk of m/c would be a lot higher for me, so that is why I didnt have it done.

    Of course, now I am just praying that everything will be fine with this baby, guess I will now in under 6w, but should anything be wrong, she is still mine and I will deal with it, not sure how the IL would react, but we have already decided that if there is anything wrong then we will just turn into hermits for a while and not allow them to know anything.

    I know that I am totally naive, and probably should have had the tests done. But from all my u/s the baby looks fine. The NT measurement was well within the range, it was just the age factor that was the problem, so I am not sure how this is worked out, but I am taking my chances.

    Fingers crossed!