Amniocentesis is a common prenatal test in which a small amount of the amniotic fluid surrounding the fetus is removed and examined. This procedure can help detect certain birth defects such as Down syndrome, spina bifida and other chromosome problems.  It is often used as a single test or performed when less invasive testing suggests the possibility of an fetal abnormality such as Down syndrome.

Amniocentesis is performed in the second trimester, between 15-20 weeks of pregnancy.

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