2-10. ASSESSING FETAL MATURITY AND WELL-BEING
Indications for assessing fetal maturity includes: determining the appropriate
time for inducing labor, avoiding prematurity, and guarding the high-risk mother.
Varieties of tests of the fetus status are of value in monitoring the well being of the fetus.
Evaluation of fetal maturity and well-being is essential in the management of the high-
risk pregnancy. The following test may be used:
a. Amniocentesis. A method for assessing fetal maturity and well being.
(1) Definition. Amniocentesis is withdrawal of amniotic fluid by insertion of a
needle through the abdominal and uterine walls (see figure 2-8).
Figure 2-8. Amniocentesis.
(2) When done. This procedure is possible after the 14th week of
pregnancy when the uterus becomes an abdominal organ and when there is sufficient
fluid for the procedure.
Information obtained by amniocentesis.
(a) Color of fluid. The fluid is usually colorless. If it is meconium
(stool) stained, it will be greenish brown and this indicates fetal hypoxia.
(b) Detects fetal chromosomal anomalies such as Down's Syndrome.
Helps to evaluate the probability of sex-linked genetic disorders.
(d) Indicates fetal maturity, in-born errors, or metabolism, (indicates
disorders like PKU).