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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.

Close view of transcervical chorionic villus sampling

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 CVS is 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 health care provider

Call your health care provider 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 inconclusive. 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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