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Q&A: What to expect in CVS?

I’m debating whether to have CVS. What exactly happens during the procedure?

Re: I’m debating whether to have CVS. What exactly happens during the procedure?

The Bump Expert

The CVS question is definitely not an easy one, and you’re smart to do your research before making a decision. If you do opt for the procedure, it will be performed around the end of your first trimester, between weeks ten and twelve.

The first step in the procedure is an ultrasound, which is used to confirm your pregnancy stage and determine the placenta’s location. Based on this, your doctor will determine whether to go through your cervix or abdomen to get the chorionic villi sample from your placenta. (This just depends on which direction will give easier access to your placenta.) The cells in this tissue have the same genetic makeup as baby, which means any chromosomal abnormalities which show up in the cells will also be present in baby.

For a transcervical procedure (through the cervix), you’ll be asked to lie on your back with your feet in stirrups. A speculum will be inserted into your vagina (think back to your last pap smear), and antiseptic used to clean your vagina and cervix. This ensures that bacteria won’t travel into your uterus during the procedure and cause an infection. Then, your doc will thread a catheter (a long, thin tube) through your vagina and cervix and use gentle suction to take a tissue sample from the placenta. For a transabdominal procedure (through the abdomen), you’ll receive a shot of local anesthetic to numb the belly area. Then, a longer needle will be put through your skin, muscle and uterine wall to reach the placenta and take a tissue sample. For each technique, ultrasound will be used to guide and monitor the entire process.

After the sample is extracted, baby’s heart rate and your blood pressure, pulse and breathing will be monitored for at least half an hour. If your blood is Rh negative, you'll receive a shot of immunoglobulin after (unless baby's father is also negative),in case your blood mixed with baby's potentially non-compatible blood during the test. Make sure someone is available to drive you home afterwards, because you'll need to take it easy for the rest of the day, and avoid sex, heavy lifting and flying for the next three days. You might experience minor cramping, but if they become severe, notice leaking amniotic fluid or spotting,or develop a fever (possible sign of an infection), call your doctor right away– these are all signs of potential miscarriage.

The test lasts about half an hour, and the actual tissue extraction only takes a few minutes. The transcervical procedure feels similar to a pap smear -- there might be some cramping or pinching, but it shouldn’t last long. In a transabdominal procedure, you’ll feel a sharp but quick sting from the numbing medication, and no further pain when the collecting needle goes in. You might cramp a little when the needle is actually in your uterus.

Expect results in about seven to ten days. Cells from your tissue need to be isolated and allowed to reproduce for a week or so, then analyzed for any chromosomal abnormalities. CVS can also be used to detect certain genetic disorders, but not neural tube defects (you’ll need amniocentesis for that). Your chances of a mosaicism result, where some cells have abnormal chromosomes and some don’t, are about1%. If this is the case, your doc will probably recommend further testing such as amniocentesis.

American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists. Your pregnancy and birth. 4th ed. Washington, DC: ACOG; 2005.

Paula Kashtan

re: Q: What to Expect in CVS?

My husband and I are debating about whether or not to have this procedure done. I have very mixed feelings about it and so does he. It just seems so invasive, and not necessarily needed to be done. Too many tests out there now...

aimee6 |

Q&A: What to expect in CVS?

What is this test for? I'm having a test done to detect down-syndrome and some other things, but my doctor told me it would be like a blood test, nothing invasive like this or amnio.

Julesy113 |

Q&A: What to expect in CVS?

Are you sure your Dr. wasn't recommending 1st trimester genetic screening? I believe that is just bloodwork and an ultrasound and was offered to me as an option to consider as well as CVS. CVS is absolutely invasive so it would seem weird for a Dr. to say it's not. I have decided to do CVS because of my age and my desire for a certain answer early in the pregnancy. But I would only do it if the risk of genetic abnormality was higher than the risk of miscarriage from the procedure, which for me, it is. Otherwise I would just do the 1st trimester genetic screening.

amargo72 |

Q&A: What to expect in CVS?

You can also do a First Look Sonogram which is not invasive.

Pez624 |

Q&A: What to expect in CVS?

I am having this test in 2 weeks because I am a carrier for a genetic disorder and the 1st hurdle was hearing that, we will be holding our breath untill we get the results, We will also find out the gender

Gina424 |

Q&A: What to expect in CVS?

I had it done, I don't have the tests back yet. You get to see the baby the whole appointment so that was nice. Some of mine was in 3D. Mine was a sonogram and blood work easy stuff.

ksmith515151515 |

Q&A: What to expect in CVS?

I will be having CVS testing done on June 25, 11th week, due to my age (39). Having it done at Yale University Hospital. Hope to have the results by July 5. So excited to find out the sex of the baby, then, too!

rssigrl |

Q&A: What to expect in CVS?

I'm getting a CVS done in a few weeks. I have two children with Cystic Fibrosis... One was diagnossed at the age of 18months the other a month later at 3 years old. Eather way I just want to know before the baby is born.. It just make it easier. I have a son just born in Jan and we didn't get the test done with him and it was so hard to wait and not know.

HalfDozof1 |

Q&A: What to expect in CVS?

don't do this. it's just another way for doctor's to make money off your unborn child. my friend had it done, and they found something wrong with the child's kidney.. who knows if the procedure itself caused it?!

leeluu8 |

Q&A: What to expect in CVS?

Tests like this make me sick..it is so wrong. i would never take a chance of harming my child to find out if they have a problem ... i would love my child no matter what happened when he or she is born. If you can't deal with having a defected child there are thousands of people who would adopt him or her. Its sad how many people take a chance wig the life if their child.

JennyS852 |

Q&A: What to expect in CVS?

I think its disgusting that some people on this forum are judging other parents having CVS and their desire to know if their child suffers from a genetic disorder. This is a new little person we're talking about, not a puppy, and a need to know and prepare for any future issues with regards to their health is human. There is so much emotional, financial, and personal preparation that can be handled prior to birth by knowing of any pre-existing conditions, so if parents decide beforehand to know, who are you to judge? Its not about who loves their child more, it's about being the best parents we can be. So, please, stop pointing fingers.

emac11201 |

Q&A: What to expect in CVS?

i agree. everyone has a right to choose for themselves and what is right for you might not be right for the next person. im on here looking for information. not looking to be judged for my decisions. AND i know that this test is not just my doctor looking for more money since i live in CANADA where this and ALL other tests, ultrasounds, and appointments are FREE! and some doctors here still recommend it to certain patients in certain situations.

gerixoxo |

Q&A: What to expect in CVS?

wow! after reading that I definately dont want a CVS! it sounds very traumatic to me!! OUCH!! I was cringing just reading it!! :(

JBMarq3 |

Q&A: What to expect in CVS?

If you think the CVS is traumatic, how traumatic would it be to suddenly have a baby with a defect without knowing and planning for it ahead of time? Yes there is a very minimal risk of something going wrong with this test, but it's a tiny statistic. Don't you DARE judge me for wanting a test that can give me time to find solutions to improve my baby's quality of life! How Ignorant and immature.

JanetPlanetMommy |

Q&A: What to expect in CVS?

I hear all the mommy hearts on hear wanting to protect their children and wanting to provide for their kids and prepare if their children have special needs. My son (who is now 1) was born with Down Syndrome, a blood clotting disorder, missing a bundle of nerves in his brain, had a stroke before he was born, had a large hole in his heart and had such a large congenital cyst in his lung that 1/3 of his lung had to be taken out. We chose NOT to do any testing because our child is our child no matter what and we know that God created that life. Do we regret not knowing before he was born? NO. There is no way to 'prepare' for special needs, because each child is special and you don't know what he or she will be capable of until they show you as they grow. I would have FREAKED out knowing all of our son's diagnosis's before he was born, but looking at him now you would never in a million years guess most of this has happened. He is funny, sweet, a trouble maker, a ham, and the light of our life. Most people can't even tell he has Downs. Just something to think about. We just found out we are expecting baby #2 in March, and we will not be doing CVS or any invasive testing. :) God bless you all.

cbehr |

Q&A: What to expect in CVS?

I too am 39 and 8 weeks pregnant and fortunately had all my children without any defecits. However, they were all born before I was 35. My question to those of you ladies who have had the CVS. I read that by having the procedure it could cause the baby to have shortened or malformed hands and arms. Is this true and did they explain to you why that would happen and how often. Im afraid to hurt our baby in an attempt to make sure all is well.

145medic |

Q&A: What to expect in CVS?

I would only consider the CVS for looking for fatal genetic defects.... It would be the only time I would consider termination and if allows you to find out ealry....

tessiern |

Q&A: What to expect in CVS?

I hadfirst trimester screening done with my first pregnancy and was told that my results were so low that it would be more likely to harm my fetus with an amnio or cvs. I was 30yo when I delivered, neither my husband or myself had any risk factors or family history of genetic disorders. We found out when my baby ws 3 months old that she had full trisimony 21/downs syndrome. Since then we have found out that the 1st trimester screening is VERY subjective based on the md. If you really care and depend on the restults, get the cvs or amnio. We had at least 10 ultrasounds throught my pregnancy as well, with none of the firm or soft markers found, even though my daughter did/does have them.

malychi1 |

Q&A: What to expect in CVS?

I wanted to follow up on my above comment. I am 11 1/2 weeks pregnant with my second child. After the first pregnancy full of surprises, we chose to have a CBS this time around. I have to say, it was nothing like I expected! The whole appointment (? Meeting with the genetic counselor, ultrasound and procedure took 1.25 hrs. They determined after the ultrasound that they would do the procedure abdominally instead of vaginally based on the placement of the placenta. They warned that I could have cramping, bleeding, fevers, or possibly leak amniotic fluid (most of which are more common with the vaginal approach.) The worst part of the whole procedure were the tiny socks for the

malychi1 |

Q&A: What to expect in CVS?

I wanted to follow up on my above comment. I am 11 1/2 weeks pregnant with my second child. After the first pregnancy full of surprises, we chose to have a CBS this time around. I have to say, it was nothing like I expected! The whole appointment (meeting with the genetic counselor, ultrasound and procedure took 1.25 hrs. They determined after the ultrasound that they would do the procedure abdominally instead of vaginally based on the placement of the placenta. They warned that I could have cramping, bleeding, fevers, or possibly leak amniotic fluid (most of which are more common with the vaginal approach.) The worst part of the whole procedure were the tiny sticks for the lidocaine. The only discomfort I felt afterwards was a little bruise at the insertion site (think blood draw site for comparison.) The result: 2 days later I learn that our SON does not have any genetic disorders! That piece of mind is priceless!! If the outcome of the tests doesn't mater to you, then by all means don't do them. However, if you really want to know, don't waste your time with the First trimester screening which consists of an early ultrasound and a blood test, because it is VERY subjective based on who inputs and decodes the results. Good luck to all you future mommies and I wish you all healthy, happy and good sleeping babies!

malychi1 |

Q&A: What to expect in CVS?

I have been reading some of these comments and I am surprised that some people would even bother commenting....the Q&A is WHAT TO EXPECT IN CVS...I want to hear from people who actually had the test. I am 40 years old and 8 weeks pregnant and I have had 3 miscarriages in the last 2 years, so for me and my husband, we feel that this test will give us accurate results, sooner rather than later. I am nervous and have been trying to find people that have had this test done in Atlanta, GA. If you have please let me know how your experience went. My appointment is scheduled for Jan 30 at Atlanta Perinatal Consultants.

tdfrees |

Q&A: What to expect in CVS?

I just had my CVS done today. I was anxious, but GLAD to have had it done. Baby's position determined an abdominal extraction. Yes, it was uncomfortable, but I was squeezing the pillow under my head and focusing on breathing. I chose to stare at the ceiling. After reading "what to expect", I certainly did not get two things: anesthesia or 1/2 hour monitoring afterwards. I suspect they thought I was calm enough not to require anesthesia and since I did well during the procedure and stated that I felt fine/relieved afterwards, they did not monitor me. They did check baby's heart rate afterwards, so it's not like they just kicked me out. Dr. recommended I not go to work, even though it was a sit down job. He gave me a doc's note just in case. I did rest a lot, but ended up going to Target to see baby stuff. I took everything slow today. For those of you heading in this direction, I strongly recommend it. EARLY detection may be crucial for "planning" and decisions. Don't listen to negative criticism. Make sure to stay relaxed and focus on breathing. It will prevent you from cramping up. Good luck to all that have this procedure. I am anxious now for my results in about a week.

ARIES326 |

Q&A: What to expect in CVS?

I will not be having this test done.

tarakay0417 |

Q&A: What to expect in CVS?

I thinkn that I am just having a 1st trimester genetic screening. At least my doctor made is sound like it would only be an ultrasound and a blood test. I would not want the CVS done, but I understand why some women would! Do I want to know, yes, but I don't want a needle in my uterus, just my opinion. I am only 20 and this is my first kid, I just pray that everything goes right!

karabou618 |

Q&A: What to expect in CVS?

I'm a 38 year old new Mom and I will be delivering at 39 years old.My Husband and I have been working on conceiving for several years. I have lost a child to an etopic and can't imagine risking a pregnancy that I have worked so hard to conceive.

tmacklin35 |

Q&A: What to expect in CVS?

I had a CVS done on Tues. Feb. 5 2013. They went through abdomen. Honestly as a Scary as it sounds, it really was not terrible. The insertion was not bad the only cramping I experienced was when they were actually pumping the catheter to gather the sample. It was over fast and I didn't even feel them take out the needle. I stared at the ultra sound the whole time and held hubby's hand. We went to breakfast after...good luck to anyone who gets this procedure, knowing your baby is ok is the best!

Fitzkitten |

Q&A: What to expect in CVS?

For those of you who have had the procedure, did any of you go by yourself?

lowrioh |

Q&A: What to expect in CVS?

Not to mention that some disorders if discovered during pregnancy can be treated during pregnancy and give an otherwise unhealthy baby a chance at a healthy life after birth. Know the facts before you spew judgement and hate at people.

MrsTopper |

Q&A: What to expect in CVS?

I had the CVS testing done last Friday and insisted that they do it vaginally. It was extremely painful and they couldn't get get to the placenta so they ended up doing it through the abdomen. I wish the doctor would have gone through the abdomen to begin with. The most painful part of the procedure was looking at the long needle before it goes in otherwise by the time they numb you it's smooth sailing.

Mizzroxanne |

Q&A: What to expect in CVS?

I am getting my 1st trimester genetic testing this coming week. I will be 12 weeks along in my first pregnancy. I am 42 yrs old and 43 when I deliver. I am very scared about the health of my baby and will have the CVS test done when I can. Thanks for the insight and helping me make my decision.

kathleenrieger |

Q&A: What to expect in CVS?

Did the doctor recommend you all for the CVS test? Mine hasn't till now. Though I will be going for a Genetic Screening next week. I hope all comes out well and everyone delivers a healthy and fit baby..

divy8 |

Q&A: What to expect in CVS?

It is important to understand that typical prenatal testing such as blood tests, ultrasound measurements, and IPS are very subjective and therefore do not give much information about any possible problems or genetic anomolies that could exist, if any. Moreover, these tests have often been unreliable. If you are thinking about reliable genetic screening than chorionic villus sampling is the best bet. It is a newer procedure in comparison to amnio. The best advice wuld be to talk to your doctor to discuss options as everyone is different.

meesa12 |

Q&A: What to expect in CVS?

Later this week, I'll be at 11 weeks, and because I informed my doctor I will NOT undergo any risky testing procedures, my doctor offered me a new blood test that has become available, called MaterniT21. It's offered to high risk patients, and I just turned 35, so that includes me, It identifies the baby's chromosomes in the mother's own blood, can detect certain chromosomal disorders and with it, we'll detect the gender.

dmf999 |

Q&A: What to expect in CVS?

I won't be doing this test, but if you do that is fine- no judging here. I know I would worry the entire time if something came back wrong and it is not always 100% right, I just want my baby I don't care if something is or isn't wrong, I have had 5 miscarriages to get to this point and I don't want to add more stress than is needed.

HopefulandOptomistic2014 |

Q&A: What to expect in CVS?

I'm 6 weeks or so and will discuss the CVS test with my doc next week. I don't want to be scared or pressured into risky testing because I'm 38, heavy, and had a miscarage 3 months ago. However, I do want to know if there is a prob because I would end the pregnancy if it has downs. That being said, I have spoken to several women who had inconclusive, false positive, and unreliable results that just freaked these moms out for no reason. Any one else hear about mixed results from these genetic tests? People who get bad news and their babies turn out just fine? Or the other side of the coin, everything looks good then-Bam! Surprise chromosome issues at birth.

1inoven |