Many couples are worried that their babies will have a birth defect or other genetic problem. Fortunately, genetic testing is available to ensure the health of the baby in early gestation. The most common procedure, amniocentesis (am-NEE-oh-sin-TEE-sis), uses a needle to extract a small amount of the fluid from the womb. The cells of this fluid are tested for genetic diseases and evidence of spinal problems. Another procedure, known as chorionic villus sampling, can be performed even earlier in the pregnancy to look for genetic abnormalities. Genetic testing can be helpful if there's a family history of a genetic problem. It's also recommended for any woman who'll be 35 or older at the time of the birth.