Amniocentesis: Should it be painful?

I am 15 weeks pregnant. I had a painful experience during amniocentesis with my first child: three sticks and 20 minutes with a needle in me. Is there anything that can be done to stop the pain during an amnio? I do not feel that the triple blood test is accurate enough to consider as an option.


Peg Plumbo CNM

Peg Plumbo has been a certified nurse-midwife (CNM) since 1976. She has assisted at over 1,000 births and currently teaches in the... Read more

The AFP test can give you a clearer idea of your risk, but you are correct that amnio can distinguish the exact nature of any problem that exists. Some couples feel that the benefit of "knowing" outweighs the risks (and pain) of amnio.

Of course, they give local anesthetic for an amnio, but it never quite takes away the discomfort of the manipulation and pressure once they are into the procedure. There is a learning curve to the expertise of the doctor, so choose someone who has performed several hundred.

It is certainly permissible to ask for more local anesthetic, if you need it. If you feel you could consider such an option, using acupuncture or acupressure during the procedure has helped some women I have worked with. I have also seen deep relaxation (hypnotism) make a profound difference.

You may also ask about the possibility of chorionic villus sampling in your case.

This experience, due to the different position of the placenta and baby, may be much more tolerable. I wish you less discomfort if you decide amnio is the way to go again.

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