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Chorionic villus sampling, or CVS, is one of several possible prenatal tests that doctors can use to determine if a developing baby has a chromosomal abnormality or a genetic disorder. In this procedure, the doctor will extract and analyze a tiny sample of the placenta to make the diagnosis. Watch the video to learn why expecting parents typically choose to have the procedure, how it's done, and what to expect after it's completed.
If you would like conclusive information about your growing baby's health, one test you might consider is chorionic villus sampling, or CVS. This test can detect chromosomal abnormalities like Down syndrome and genetic disorders like cystic fibrosis with certainty.
You might choose to get CVS if your baby is at a higher risk for developing an abnormality based on your age, family history, the results of a screening test, or you may have no risk factors but would still like to know more about your baby's health.
CVS is similar to another prenatal test called amniocentesis: Both are invasive procedures that can provide conclusive information about your baby's health, and both carry a small risk of miscarriage.
However, CVS is done between 10 and 13 weeks of pregnancy, and you have to wait until 16 weeks to have an amnio.
A CVS test involves taking a tiny sample of tissue from the placenta for analysis.
The doctor uses ultrasound for guidance. You'll need to have a full bladder to provide a good view of the uterus while he inserts a thin tube through your cervix or a needle through your abdomen to collect the sample. You may feel some cramping or discomfort.
The whole procedure typically takes 30 minutes, and when it's done the doctor will check your baby's heartbeat.
Plan to have someone else drive you home, and take it easy for the rest of the day. For the next two or three days, avoid strenuous activity and intercourse. If you had the test done cervically, avoid swimming and taking baths as well.
It's normal to have some cramping or light bleeding a day or two after the procedure. But let your doctor know right away if you have significant cramping, heavy vaginal bleeding, leaking amniotic fluid, or fever.
Typically, you'll have some results in seven to 10 days and the rest in two to four weeks.
If CVS shows that your baby has a problem, your healthcare provider or genetic counselor can give you more information, discuss your options, and refer you to support services.
Make sure you understand the answers to all of your questions. You'll have greater peace of mind knowing more about your baby's health.
Video production by MEg TV.