Percutaneous umbilical blood sampling, also known as PUBS, is a diagnostic prenatal test wherein blood is taken from the umbilical cord of a fetus to detect certain genetic diseases and other conditions. The procedure involves inserting a needle through the mother’s abdominal and uterine walls and into the umbilical cord. Besides diagnosis, it can also be used for blood transfusions to the fetus or for administering medication.

Key Takeaways

  1. Percutaneous Umbilical Blood Sampling (PUBS) is a prenatal, diagnostic procedure primarily used to detect any genetic or chromosomal disorders in the fetus. It can also provide information about fetal health, specifically concerning the blood, and oxygen amounts.
  2. This procedure is performed under ultrasound guidance and involves the extraction of fetal blood from the umbilical cord using a needle. The blood sample will then be used to conduct various tests to determine the presence of abnormalities or infections.
  3. PUBS is a relatively high-risk procedure and is usually recommended only when other, less invasive testing methods, such as amniocentesis and chorionic villus sampling, proved inconclusive or are unsuitable. Risks can include preterm labor, infections, or bleeding.


Percutaneous Umbilical Blood Sampling (PUBS) is an important term in motherhood as it is a critical diagnostic procedure used to detect certain genetic and blood disorders in a fetus.

This prenatal test, also known as Cordocentesis, allows doctors to take a small sample of the fetus’s blood from the umbilical cord during pregnancy.

It provides a quick and accurate method to diagnose conditions such as Down’s Syndrome, fetal infections, anemia, and other blood disorders.

Furthermore, it can be used to administer medications or blood transfusions directly to the fetus if needed.

Thus, PUBS plays a vital role in ensuring both maternal and fetal health during pregnancy.


Percutaneous umbilical blood sampling (PUBS) or cordocentesis is a specialized prenatal test that is primarily used for diagnostic or therapeutic purposes during pregnancy. The main purpose of this test is to identify specific conditions in the fetus, particularly those related to the blood.

One of the main applications of PUBS is to detect fetal infections, genetic conditions, or blood disorders, as well as to assess the amount of oxygen, and other parameters like acidity and blood pressure in the blood of the baby. Moreover, percutaneous umbilical blood sampling is also used as a therapeutic measure in particular situations.

For example, if a baby inside the womb needs a blood transfusion, or medication directly delivered to him or her, PUBS would be the procedure chosen to achieve this. In some cases, it can even be used to perform procedures like heart catheterization and stent placements.

Thus, percutaneous umbilical blood sampling serves as an essential tool in managing complex pregnancies where direct intervention to the fetus is required.

Examples of Percutaneous umbilical blood sampling

Percutaneous umbilical blood sampling, also known as PUBS or cordocentesis, is a prenatal test where a sample of the baby’s blood is taken from the umbilical cord for testing. Here are three possible examples of its use in the real world:

Diagnosing Fetal Anemia: This test can be used in situations where the unborn baby is suspected to have anemia, possibly due to Rh sensitization, where the mother’s immune system attacks the baby’s red blood cells. Through PUBS, healthcare providers can make an accurate diagnosis and supply appropriate treatment, like a blood transfusion, directly to the fetus if needed.

Genetic Disorders: In some cases, after an abnormality is detected in an ultrasound or other prenatal tests, PUBS can provide additional information about potential genetic or chromosomal disorders, like Down syndrome or thalassemia. It can give a definitive diagnosis that can help the parents and doctors make informed decisions about treatments or interventions.

Checking for Infections: If there are concerns that the fetus might have a blood infection (sepsis) or an inherent issue such as toxoplasmosis, rubella, cytomegalovirus, herpes simplex, or HIV, PUBS can be administered to confirm and treat these afflictions. It’s crucial to keep in mind that PUBS is often considered when other less invasive diagnostic tests don’t yield the required information, as it carries a slightly higher risk of complications.

Percutaneous Umbilical Blood Sampling FAQ

What is percutaneous umbilical blood sampling?

Percutaneous umbilical blood sampling (PUBS), also known as cordocentesis, is a diagnostic prenatal test where blood is taken from the umbilical cord to detect certain genetic disorders, blood conditions, and infections.

Who needs percutaneous umbilical blood sampling?

This test is usually recommended for women who have had abnormal results from other prenatal tests, and there is a need for more detailed information.

What risks are associated with percutaneous umbilical blood sampling?

Although rare, risks of PUBS may include infection, bleeding, changes in the baby’s heart rate, and in very rare circumstances, miscarriage. It is important to discuss these potential risks with your healthcare provider.

How is percutaneous umbilical blood sampling performed?

The procedure typically involves using an ultrasound to guide a needle into the umbilical cord to withdraw a small sample of the baby’s blood for analysis.

How should I prepare for percutaneous umbilical blood sampling?

You may need to have a full bladder for the procedure. It’s also recommended to bring a companion to drive you home afterward due to potential light-headedness or faintness.

Related Motherhood Terms

  • Fetal Blood Sampling
  • High-Risk Pregnancy Procedures
  • Prenatal Diagnosis
  • Genetic Testing
  • Umbilical Cord Blood

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