Given the sensitive nature of the medical procedure, patients are advised to avoid any strenuous activity after amniocentesis. Although the amniotic fluid test is typically an outpatient procedure, excessive physical activity can cause complications that put both the patient’s and the developing fetus’ health at risk. The recommended rest period is relatively short, however, and patients should be able to go about their regular activities within 72 hours. Patients should also prepare themselves for possible side effects after amniocentesis, including cramps and slight bleeding. Patients should also take notice of signs of severe complications, such as watery discharge or high fever, and should seek immediate medical care should these signs occur.
Amniocentesis, in which a small sample of amniotic fluid is extracted from a pregnant woman’s womb for prenatal diagnosis of fetal infections or genetic abnormalities, creates a small puncture in the amniotic sac. Although the wound is almost negligibly tiny, there is an inherent risk that strenuous activity will cause the puncture to rupture further. Patients are advised to rest for a few hours after amniocentesis. While some hospitals allow patients to drive home immediately after the procedure, experts recommend that patients rest briefly to allow the effects of anesthesia to wear off, as well as allow the wound time to heal.
Patients should avoid doing tasks such as heavy lifting and physical exercise after amniocentesis. Some experts recommend that the maximum weight patients should be allowed to carry is 15 pounds (roughly 6.8 kilos). Patients should also avoid having sexual intercourse and traveling by airplane after amniocentesis. Most doctors agree that it is safe to return to these activities about 72 hours after the procedure.
Some individuals will experience slight side effects following the procedure. Women generally feel slight cramping in reaction to the extraction, but this tends to fade as the puncture wound heals. Patients should have sanitary pads or tampons prepared in case the procedure results in slight bleeding. In most cases, the bleeding is limited to light spotting.
Patients should also be vigilant about more signs of serious complications after amniocentesis. If an individual notices a clear discharge or heavy bleeding from her vagina after the procedure, it could be a sign that the amniotic sac has ruptured and begun to leak. Patients should go to the nearest hospital’s emergency room and seek immediate help. The same follows if the patient suffers intense cramping or severe abdominal pain or develops unusually-high fever. Individuals should also seek immediate medical help if they suspect any changes to their pregnancy after amniocentesis.