Health Tip: Amniocentesis Can Identify Birth Defects

ByABC News
March 23, 2008, 11:19 PM

Mar. 23 -- (HealthDay News) -- Amniocentesis is a diagnostic procedure in which a needle is inserted into the abdomen of a pregnant woman, entering the uterus.

The U.S. National Library of Medicine says the needle withdraws a small amount of uterine fluid, which can be tested for signs of the following birth defects:

  • Down syndrome and other chromosomal disorders.
  • Spina bifida, anencephaly (partial brain formation), and other structural birth defects.
  • Infection.
  • Rh incompatibility.
  • Lung immaturity.