Reproductive Genetics

Fetal Blood Sampling

Fetal blood sampling, also known as PUBS (percutaneous umbilical blood sampling), is a procedure to remove a small amount of blood from the fetus during pregnancy. Fetal blood sampling is performed by maternal-fetal medicine specialists to diagnose, treat, and monitor various fetal problems. A fetal blood sample may be taken to:

  • Diagnose and treat severe fetal anemia
  • Diagnose genetic or chromosome abnormalities
  • Diagnose fetal infection
  • Give certain medications to the fetus

Fetal blood sampling is an outpatient procedure which takes several hours to complete, however much of this time is spent setting up equipment and performing ultrasound. The technique is similar to that of amniocentesis; once the mother's abdomen is cleaned with an antiseptic, a thin needle is inserted into a fetal blood vessel. This is all done under ultrasound guidance. When the needle is in place, a blood sample is removed. Medications or a blood transfusion can also be given through the needle if necessary. Once the procedure is completed the mother will need to rest in the hospital and have the fetal heart rate monitored for several hours.

 

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