Ultrasound and Amniocentesis
Obstetrical ultrasound can help your doctor determine:
- how far along you are in your pregnancy;
- if you are going to have more than one baby;
- if your baby has any major health problems and is growing properly; and
- the position of the placenta, which can affect whether or not a vaginal delivery is safe.
Amniocentesis is a simple procedure that involves withdrawing amniotic fluid from around the growing fetus through a slender needle. Your doctor may recommend amniocentesis for many reasons, including:
- if your baby is at risk for certain types of birth defects such as Down syndrome, spina bifida or anencephaly;
- to determine if the baby's lungs are mature enough for delivery;
- if you have an infection; or
- if there is maternal blood sensitization (usually Rh sensitization) to make sure the baby is developing normally.