What is an alpha-fetoprotein screening (AFP)?
Alpha-fetoprotein screening is a blood test that checks the level of alpha-fetoprotein in the mothers’ blood during pregnancy. AFP is a protein normally made by the baby’s liver. It is found in the fluid surrounding the baby in the womb (amniotic fluid). AFP goes through the placenta into the mother’s blood. The AFP blood test is called MSAFP (maternal serum AFP). The AFP can also be measured in the amniotic fluid, called AFAFP.
Too much or too little AFP may be a sign of:
Open neural tube defects (ONTD), such as spina bifida
Defects in the abdominal wall of the baby
Twins (more than one baby is making the protein)
A miscalculated due date, as the levels change during pregnancy
You may have an AFP test as one part of a two-, three-, or four-part screening. This is sometimes called a multiple marker screen. The other parts of the test may check for:
hCG (Human chorionic gonadotropin hormone). This is a hormone made by the placenta.
Estriol. This hormone is made by the placenta.
Inhibin-A. This is a hormone made by the placenta.
Abnormal test results for AFP and other markers may show a need for more testing. An ultrasound can usually confirm the dates of the pregnancy. It is also used to look at the baby’s spine and other body parts for defects. An amniocentesis may be needed for accurate diagnosis.
How is an alpha-fetoprotein test done?
In most cases, an alpha-fetoprotein test is done this way:
Blood is usually taken from a vein between the 15th and 20th weeks of pregnancy.
The blood sample is then sent off to be checked at a lab.
Results of the tests are usually ready in 1 to 2 weeks or less, depending on the lab.
What are the risks and benefits of alpha-fetoprotein screening?
There are no risks of having the actual test performed other than the usual risks of a blood test.
A multiple marker screening test is not diagnostic. This means it is not 100% accurate. It is only a screening test to see who might need more tests for their pregnancy. There can be false-positive results. These results show a problem when the baby is actually healthy. False negative results show that everything is OK when the baby actually does have a health problem.
The purpose of this screening test is to find out which women have a higher risk of having a baby with a birth defect. It is also used to find the women who need additional testing during pregnancy. Without the AFP test, some women would not be given additional testing.
1351Baby shower guest sign in ideas
1607Girl baby shower favors ideas
2533Boy baby shower decorations ideas
1791TOP 10 Girl baby shower themes ideas for 2017
600Baby shower fruit tray ideas
3923Baby shower snack ideas pinterest
1909Purchase The Special Twin Baby Shower Cakes From Your Local Stores
4291High tea baby shower ideas – 10 ways to have a High tea baby shower party!
4319Baby shower afternoon tea ideas
2553TOP 10 Baby girl baby shower food ideas
2463Baby shower ideas pinterest boy
4315Baby shower centerpieces ideas pictures – 10 methods to brighten your baby shower party
554Welcoming a Baby Angel in Style with the Best Baby shower souvenir ideas
218710 Useful Triplet baby shower ideas for you!
2041Planning a Baby shower program ideas – detailed guide
3165Baby shower charades ideas
4327Baby shower onesie ideas – 10 secrets to know
2137Bumble bee themed baby shower ideas – 10 tips for good party!
2375Rubber ducky themed baby shower ideas
1166Nautical baby shower decorations party ideas
3743Baby shower cake ideas pictures
3047Cute baby shower cakes ideas
23811Emotional Development Milestones for babies from birth to 2 months
978Autumn baby shower ideas
1713Boy baby shower games ideas
2075Cute cheap baby shower ideas
3871Baby shower invitation ideas homemade
710Twin boy baby shower ideas
1655Gift ideas for baby shower game winners
2143Baby shower balloons ideas
958Non traditional baby shower ideas
3105Unique baby shower ideas for girl
946Baby shower for girls ideas
3005Surprise baby shower invitation wording ideas
26Girl baby shower ideas
3685Baby shower favours ideas