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Amniocentesis

Amniocentesis is an important way of finding out how a baby is developing while inside the womb, including whether it may develop a genetic disorder.

All pregnant women should be offered tests for Downs syndrome and other genetic conditions. You should be given information about this test as early as possible during your pregnancy, so that you can make an informed choice about whether to have an amniocentesis or not.  For women aged 35, the risk of the procedure causing a miscarriage is about the same as the risk of the baby having Downs syndrome. In other cases, amniocentesis is done if there is any reason to suspect a potential problem.

The risk of causing miscarriage by amniocentesis is about 1%. That means that about one woman in every 100 having an amniocentesis will suffer a miscarriage as a result.