Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS) is a prenatal test. It’s done to check if a baby has any chromosome disorders or inherited diseases like Down syndrome or cystic fibrosis. During the test, a small piece of tissue from the placenta, called chorionic villi, is examined. This tissue has the same genetic makeup as the developing baby.

Chorionic villus sampling (CVS) is a test done during pregnancy to check for genetic problems in the baby. There are two ways to do CVS: through the cervix or through the abdomen. In the cervix method, a thin tube is put into the placenta to take a small piece of tissue. In the abdomen method, a needle is used to take the tissue. Each method has its own pros and cons, and doctors choose the one that’s best for each situation.

If you’re pregnant and thinking about having CVS, this guide can help you understand why doctors might suggest it, when it’s usually recommended, what risks are involved, what the procedure involves, and how to interpret the results.

Purpose of  Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS) Test

Alright, let’s have a talk about this test called CVS, alright? So, CVS stands for Chorionic Villus Sampling. It’s a way for us to check if your baby might have some special things going on, like problems with their chromosomes or certain genetic conditions.

You see, sometimes babies can have extra or missing bits in their chromosomes, which can cause things like Down syndrome or Turner syndrome. And then there are these genetic conditions, like cystic fibrosis or fragile X syndrome, which are passed down from parents.

Now, why do we do this test, you might ask? Well, it’s important because knowing about these things can help you make some big decisions. Like, if we find out there’s a serious problem, it gives you time to think about what you want to do next. Maybe you’ll want to prepare differently for your baby’s arrival, or maybe you’ll need some extra support in caring for them.

So, think of CVS as a way for us to get a clearer picture of what’s going on with your little one before they’re even born. It’s all about making sure you have the information you need to make the best choices for you and your family. Does that make sense?

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Chorionic villus sampling might be recommended for women who:

 So, let’s talk about why your doctor might suggest this test called Chorionic Villus Sampling, or CVS for short. You might hear about it if:

  1. You’ve had a screening test during your pregnancy that showed something to keep an eye on, like the first-trimester screen or cell-free DNA screening. CVS can give us more detailed information to help us understand what’s going on.
  1. If you’ve had a baby before with a condition like Down syndrome, there’s a chance it could happen again. CVS helps us check if everything’s okay with your baby’s chromosomes early on.
  1. Age can sometimes play a role. If you’re 35 or older, the risk of certain chromosome problems goes up a bit. So, CVS might be suggested to get a clearer picture.
  1. If there are any genetic conditions that run in your family or your partner’s family, like Tay-Sachs disease, CVS can help us see if your baby might be affected too.

Basically, CVS is recommended when there are certain signs or risks that we need to take a closer look at. It’s all about making sure we’re doing everything we can to keep you and your baby healthy.

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CVS vs. Amniocentesis

Alright, let’s talk about something important for new parents-to-be: prenatal testing. When it comes to choosing between CVS and amniocentesis, it can feel like a big decision, but don’t worry, we’ll break it down.

Both of these tests involve taking a sample from inside the womb, but they’re done at different times during pregnancy. CVS, short for Chorionic Villus Sampling, happens a bit earlier, usually between weeks 10 and 13. On the other hand, amniocentesis, or amnio for short, is done a bit later, between weeks 15 and 20.

Now, here’s where it gets interesting. Both tests are considered safe, but they each have their own strengths. CVS can give us results a bit sooner, which can be reassuring for some parents. However, amnio has a special advantage: it can pick up on certain things that CVS might miss, like neural tube defects such as spina bifida.

So, it’s like a trade-off. CVS is done earlier, but amnio can catch some extra things. It really depends on what’s important to you and your family. Your doctor can help you weigh the pros and cons and decide which test might be the best fit for you. The most important thing is making sure you feel comfortable and informed every step of the way.

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Risks and Contraindications of Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS)

Methods of CVS:

– Transcervical: Sample taken through the cervix.

– Transabdominal: Needle inserted through the abdominal wall.

Common Risks:

– Cramping during and after.

– Spotting but not heavy bleeding.

– Leaking of amniotic fluid.

Rare Risks:

– Miscarriage risk: 2.43% for transabdominal, 2.76% for transcervical.

– Rh Sensitization: Baby’s blood cells entering mother’s bloodstream.

– Uterine infection.

– Limb defects in infants (very rare).


– Not recommended for women with infections, multiple pregnancies, vaginal bleeding, Rh incompatibility, uterine fibroids, or tilted uterus.

– May not be advisable for those with a history of premature labor, incompetent cervix, placenta previa, placental abruption, or on medication causing bleeding.

Before the Test of Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS)

what to expect and prepare for before undergoing chorionic villus sampling (CVS):


– Plan for about a couple of hours for your CVS appointment.

– The actual procedure takes about 10 minutes.

– After the test, you’ll be monitored for about an hour.

– Consider taking the whole day off for rest.


– CVS is usually done at your doctor’s office with ultrasound equipment.

What to Wear:

– Wear clothes that are easy to slip on and off.

– Bring socks as exam rooms can be chilly.

Cost and Insurance:

– Check if your insurance covers CVS, especially if you’re over 35 or have a family history of genetic disorders.

– Be prepared for additional fees, like lab work.

What to Bring:

– Bring your health insurance card.

– Consider packing mini sanitary pads in case of spotting.

– Bring a support person if desired.

Other Considerations:

– Speak with a genetic counselor beforehand, especially if there’s a family history of genetic disorders.

– Understand your personal stance on pregnancy termination, as it may influence your decision to undergo CVS.

– If you don’t want to know the baby’s sex, inform your doctor and counselor to avoid accidental disclosure.

During the Test of Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS)

Feeling nervous about chorionic villus sampling (CVS) is totally normal, but understanding the process can help ease some of those jitters. Here’s what to expect during the procedure, whether you’re having transabdominal or transcervical CVS:


– Your doctor may advise you not to empty your bladder before the test to aid needle guidance.

– After checking in at your doctor’s office, you’ll have a brief discussion about the procedure.

– You’ll change into a hospital gown and be prepared for the test.

During the Test

– An ultrasound will be used to guide the procedure and check the baby’s gestational age.

– For transabdominal CVS, the abdomen is cleansed, and a thin needle is inserted to collect a tissue sample from the placenta.

– For transcervical CVS, a speculum is inserted into the vagina to access the cervix, and a thin catheter is guided to collect tissue from the chorionic villi.

– You may feel some pressure or cramping, but it shouldn’t be painful.


– After the sample is collected, it’s sent to a genetics lab for analysis.

– Your vital signs and the baby’s heart rate will be monitored for about an hour.

– If you’re Rh-negative, you may receive medication to prevent complications.

– Once everything is stable, you can get dressed and leave.

Remember, your doctor and nurse are there to guide you through the process and answer any questions you may have.

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After the Test of Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS)

After CVS testing, it’s important to take it easy and listen to your body. Here’s what you should keep in mind:

Rest and Activities:

– Your doctor may recommend resting for at least 24 hours after CVS testing.

– Avoid strenuous activities during this time.

– Don’t douche or have sex for two weeks, unless your doctor says it’s okay.

– A follow-up ultrasound may be scheduled to ensure everything looks okay.

Managing Side Effects:

– You might experience spotting or cramping afterward.

– Use a mini pad for bleeding and consider over-the-counter pain medication if approved by your doctor.

– Alternatively, try a heating pad or warm bath for comfort.

Watch for Warning Signs:

– Serious side effects are rare but watch out for:

– Heavy vaginal bleeding.

– Bleeding or fluid drainage from the needle insertion site (for transabdominal CVS).

– Leaking amniotic fluid.

– Fever, chills, severe abdominal pain, or intense uterine contractions (cramping).

If you notice any of these symptoms, contact your doctor promptly. It’s essential to stay vigilant and prioritize your health during this time.

Interpreting Results of Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS):

– Results typically take a few days to two weeks to come back.

– A normal result indicates no genetic disorders or chromosomal abnormalities.

– Chorionic villus sampling (CVS) is considered 99% accurate.

– An abnormal result specifies the chromosomal or genetic abnormality present.

– Common terms in results include:

– Trisomy: Extra chromosome, e.g., Down syndrome (Trisomy 21).

– Translocation: Two different chromosomes join, causing conditions like Emanuel syndrome.

– Mosaicism: Some cells have an extra chromosome.

– Fractured chromosomes: Chromosome breaks, potentially impacting health later.


– Unclear results may require repeating CVS or having an amniocentesis.

– A blood test around 16-18 weeks screens for neural tube defects.


– Discuss options with your doctor or genetic counselor based on results.

– Understand treatment possibilities, special needs, and viability of the pregnancy.

– Consider continuing or ending the pregnancy based on informed choices.

Final Thoughts About Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS)

– The decision to have CVS is personal; ensure you’re well-informed.

– While anxiety is common, complications from CVS are rare, and most pregnancies are normal.

– Expert support is available for abnormal results to guide decision-making.

Remember, you’re not alone in this journey. Seek support and guidance to make decisions that align with your needs and preferences.

People Also Ask About Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS)

Q. How is CVS different from other prenatal tests?

  • CVS differs from other prenatal tests like amniocentesis and non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT) in terms of when it’s performed and the method used to collect the sample.

Q. How soon after Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS) can I have sex?

  • Your doctor may recommend abstaining from sex for a few days after CVS to reduce the risk of complications.

Q. Will my insurance cover the cost of CVS?

  • Coverage varies depending on your insurance plan, so it’s important to check with your provider beforehand.

Q. Should I see a genetic counselor before deciding on Chorionic Villus Sampling (CVS)?

  • It’s advisable to consider consulting with a genetic counselor before undergoing CVS to discuss your individual risk factors, the benefits and limitations of the procedure, and any alternative testing options available.

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