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As with most types of medical tests, the best way to interpret amniocentesis results is with the help of your doctor or nurse. If you want to evaluate the results before talking to your medical care providers, however, or if they are temporarily unavailable, you can consider the results of this test based on whether the fluid was clear and what other substances were found within it. Your results will usually include the presence or absence of abnormal chromosomes as well as the presence of or signs that indicate spina bifida, a condition marked by an abnormal opening in the spine. These test results will also reveal the sex of your baby and indicate whether your unborn child has any of a range of other conditions detectable with this type of test, including some bleeding disorders and developmental disorders.
Typically, amniocentesis results will include information about the appearance and content of amniotic fluid. A healthy result usually means the amount of fluid is normal for your stage of pregnancy and the fluid is clear. In some cases, small amounts of blood may be present, but this isn't usually worrisome. Typically, it is not even the baby's blood — it usually comes from the mother and doesn't indicate any type of harm. Sometimes the results may reveal that there is fecal matter present, which can prove a sign of a problem with the baby or his womb environment.
As you interpret your amniocentesis results, you can also discover whether or not your unborn child has a chromosomal disorder. This test can be used to reveal such conditions as Down syndrome, disorders that involve the chromosomes responsible for determining gender, and many other chromosomal conditions. It can also reveal disorders that can be passed down from parent to child, such as cystic fibrosis. Often, the results of this test also indicate whether or not the developing baby has a disorder related to bleeding or some kind of developmental condition.
Your amniocentesis results will likely also include the level of a protein produced in the fetal liver called alpha-fetoprotein. When levels of this substance are abnormal, this can indicate that a baby has a defect such as spina bifida. This test can reveal other types of defects of the brain or spinal chord as well.
With amniocentesis results in hand, you can even learn whether your baby is a boy or a girl. While it's true that many women learn the likely sex of their babies through ultrasound examinations, that method is not always accurate. An amniocentesis, however, can reveal the likely sex of your baby with more than 99 percent accuracy.
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