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CVS (Chorionic Villi Sampling)

CVS is a prenatal test that helps you learn if a fetus has health problems. The test is most often done between weeks 9 and 11 of pregnancy. Discuss with your doctor whether CVS is right for you.

Pregnant woman lying on exam table under blankets with feet in stirrups. Part of her belly is exposed. Healthcare provider is holding ultrasound probe to woman's belly. Another healthcare provider is sitting between woman's legs. Inset of side view cross section of woman's pelvis showing baby inside uterus and ultrasound probe outside on skin. Thin tube is inserted in vagina and through cervix into uterus. Tube goes up wall of uterus next to take tissue sample.

Should you have CVS?

If the fetus has a higher than normal chance of birth defects or other problems, you may want to have this test. The following risk factors can increase chances of fetal health problems:

  • You’re 35 or older.

  • There’s a history of inherited (genetic) problems in your family.

  • Other tests have shown that the fetus may have health problems.

How is CVS done?

  • First, the fetus is located with ultrasound (sound waves that make an image on a screen).

  • A thin tube is then inserted into your vagina and guided to your uterus. Or, you may have a thin hollow needle inserted through your belly.

  • A small amount of cells from the tissue that will become the placenta (chorionic villi) are removed by gentle suction.

  • You can go home right after the test. But you may need to take it easy for a day or so.

When to call your doctor

Call your doctor right away if you notice:

  • Severe pain or cramping

  • Vaginal bleeding (spotting)

  • Fever or chills

  • Fluid leaking from your vagina

Getting test results

You’ll learn your CVS results in 3 to 5 days.CVS is a very accurate test, but in a few cases, results may be inconvlusive. Most results are normal. Even if yours aren’t, it doesn’t always mean there’s a problem. You and your doctor can talk about other tests or special care you may want.

 

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