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Cordocentesis During Pregnancy

Updated on July 13, 2010

Cordocentesis is a diagnostic test that is sometimes done during pregnancy and is also called as umbilical vein sampling, fetal blood sampling, and percutaneous umbilical blood sampling. This diagnostic procedure involves obtaining a fetal blood sample through a needle inserted into the umbilical cord. The test is done by inserting a very fine needle into the mother’s abdomen up to one of the vessels of the cord. This test is done with the help of advanced imaging ultrasound when certain diagnostic information cannot be obtained by performing an amniocentesis.

The mother is given a sedative to slow fetal movements and facilitate extraction of sample. Cordocentesis test takes 45 minutes to 1 hour. The test is performed during the second trimester of pregnancy from week 17 or 18. This test is done when the gynecologist or neonatal radiologist suspects the baby to have a genetic or metabolic disease, fetal anemia or other hematologic disorders, a chromosome abnormality like Down’s syndrome, an infection such as rubella or toxoplasmosis, fetal malformations, or isoimmunization. Cordocentesis can also be done to treat the fetus administering certain medications or for doing a blood transfusion.

Cordocentesis pic
Cordocentesis pic

Cordocentesis carries some risk, so the gynecologist's indicates when the benefits of having an early diagnosis outweigh the risk to fetus. In approximately 2% of time, this test can cause miscarriage. The percentage of this risk varies greatly from one clinic or hospital to another depending on the professional experience of the person doing this test, as it involves high expertise and use of special technique.

The doctor removes 3 to 5 mm of blood, which is sent to pathology to be analyzed under microscope. The results are usually faster when cordocentesis is combined with amniocentesis, which can sometimes be important depending on the parent’s decision to continue or not with the pregnancy. Amniocentesis mentioned above is performed in cases of hydramnios or polyhydramnios (excess of amniotic fluid) or oligohydramnios (deficiency of amniotic fluid) described in detail in my previous articles.


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    • soni2006 profile imageAUTHOR

      Rajinder Soni 

      8 years ago from New Delhi, India

      It's my pleasure tonymac04 that I wrote something different this time.

    • tonymac04 profile image

      Tony McGregor 

      8 years ago from South Africa

      Thanks for this interesting information. I had never heard of this procedure before, although I did know about amniocentesis.

      Love and peace


    • soni2006 profile imageAUTHOR

      Rajinder Soni 

      8 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Pregnancy is a time that is so soothing for a woman who is going to give birth to a new life and at this time, no risks should be taken and male partners should understand about the needs and emotions of their partners. Routine followups with the gynecologist are highly recommended before, during, and after delivery and it becomes the responsibility of the parents who are going to give birth to their babies to provide a sterile environment and utmost care.

    • Veronica Allen profile image

      Veronica Allen 

      8 years ago from Georgia

      Very informative soni. There are so many things women go through when they get pregnant. That is why it is so important to get updated checkups and good care.

    • soni2006 profile imageAUTHOR

      Rajinder Soni 

      8 years ago from New Delhi, India

      I just wanted to get the word out of cordocentesis and I think I have done that perfectly. Thanks masmasika for your visit, a good read, and finally a comment.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      This is an informative post. I don't even know the word. Thanks for sharing.


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