When to Do a Double Marker Test
The double marker test is a screening test that is used to assess the risk of chromosomal abnormalities in the fetus during the first trimester of pregnancy. The test measures two substances in the mother’s blood
* Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) This hormone is produced by the placenta during pregnancy.
* Pregnancy-associated plasma protein-A (PAPP-A) This protein is produced by the placenta and the fetus.
A high level of hCG and a low level of PAPP-A can be a sign of Down syndrome, Edwards syndrome, or Patau syndrome. However, the double marker test is not a diagnostic test, and it cannot definitively tell you whether your baby has a chromosomal abnormality. If your results are high-risk, you may be offered a more invasive test, such as amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling.
The double marker test is typically performed between weeks 11 and 14 of pregnancy. This is because the levels of hCG and PAPP-A are highest during this time. The test can be done earlier or later in the first trimester, but the results may not be as accurate.
The double marker test is not mandatory, but it is recommended for pregnant women who are
* Over the age of 35
* Have a family history of chromosomal abnormalities
* Have had a previous child with a chromosomal abnormality
* Have had an abnormal ultrasound during the first trimester
If you are considering having a double marker test, talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of the test. The test is safe for most women, but there is a small risk of complications, such as bleeding or infection.
Here are some additional things to keep in mind about the double marker test
* The test is not 100% accurate. A negative result does not guarantee that your baby does not have a chromosomal abnormality.
* A positive result does not mean that your baby definitely has a chromosomal abnormality. You will need to have further testing to confirm the diagnosis.
* The double marker test is only one part of a comprehensive prenatal screening program. Other tests, such as an ultrasound and a nuchal translucency scan, can also help to assess the risk of chromosomal abnormalities.
If you have any questions or concerns about the double marker test, talk to your doctor. They can help you decide if the test is right for you and explain the risks and benefits in more detail.