I would never advise anyone to have or not to have amnio. However, I had one recently (about 10 weeks ago), and will share my experience with you.
My first trimester screen came back 1:13 for trisonomy 21. After much thought I decided to have amnio to know for certain. In my case I would not have terminated my pregnancy no matter what, but I did need to know or I would have worried and stressed out the entire pregnancy. Here is what I found out (this is all based on medical advice)
There is only 1 risk associated with amnio, and that is possible miscarriage. The rate of miscarriage is 1:200, although some clinics and Dr.'s have a far greater success rate then that. You will hear that if the needle nicks the baby it's a problem. For the most part, that is not true. Also, your first trimester screen results are based on a combination of blood work and nucheal fold measurment. These results are combined with your age to come up with your risk factor. First trimester screen is not a diagnostic test, it simply measures your risk. Amnio only checks for 3 things (at least here in Canada.) Trisonomy 13, 18 & 21.
I literally interviewed the perinatologist that was going to perform my procedure. He informed me that he had been doing this for many years and that his rate of complications was 1:1600. He was very patient and answered all my questions thoroughly. I felt really good about working with him and decided to proceed.
The day of the procedure they started with ultrasound. They checked his heartrate and position in my uterus. They did not use a numbing gel at all. The perinatologist used the ultrasound to guide the needle. At one point my baby moved towards it, so he just stopped, held it still and waiting until baby stopped moving. In my case it was pretty close to pain free...I kind of compare it to getting freezing at the dentist. I had been so scared that when he told me he was in, I laughed and said "seriously, that's it? I felt a bit of pressure, then it was over. They sent me home with instructions of things to watch for and to take it very easy...no lifting or anything for 72 hours.
I did as they told me and had absolutely no complications whatsoever. I also got a phone call letting me know that the results showed my baby was perfectly healthy and all was fine. I am now just over 26 weeks pregnant and have been able to enjoy. Everything continues to be fine.
I am glad I made the decision I did. However, you have to be comfortable with the risk associated and the Dr. performing the procedure. Do not be afraid to ask questions and if you aren't comfortable with the answers, to change your mind.
The reason I say I would never advise you to have or not have this procedure is because I believe it is an intensly personal decision. You are the one having the procedure and you have to live with whatever the outcome. You have to decide why you want the information and why it is important (or not) for you to know. You will find that talking about having this procedure invokes some pretty strong opinions and emotions in many. Collect your facts, do your research, think it through and do what you think is best. If you do decide to go ahead, I recommend having a support person with you. My husband was in the room with me the entire time, holding my hand and that helped a lot. Again, the experience itself wasn't bad, it was the fear and emotion around it.
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