Amniocentesis is a medical procedure used in prenatal diagnosis of chromosomal abnormalities and fetal infections , in which a small amount of amniotic fluid, which contains fetal tissues, is extracted from the amnion or amniotic sac surrounding a developing fetus, and the fetal DNA is examined for genetic abnormalities.
Before the actual procedure, a local anesthetic is sometimes given to relieve the pain when inserting the needle used to withdraw the fluid. A needle is usually inserted through the mother's abdominal wall through the wall of the uterus into the amniotic sac. With the aid of ultrasound-guidance, a physician aims towards an area of the sac that is away from the fetus and extracts approximately 20ml of amniotic fluid for testing. The puncture heals, and the amniotic sac replenishes the liquid over a day or so. After the amniotic fluid is extracted, the fetal cells are separated from it. The cells are grown in a culture medium, then fixed and stained. Under a microscope the chromosomes are examined for abnormalities. The most common abnormalities detected are Down syndrome, Edward syndrome [Trisomy 18] and Turner syndrome [Monosomy X]. Amniocentesis is most safely performed after the 14th-16th week of pregnancy, does not need to be done before then due to risk it can do to the babys limbs. Usually genetic counseling is offered prior to amniocentesis.
Text source Refered From:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amniocentesis