I am 15 weeks pregnant with my first child and the doctor asked if I wanted a triple screen test. What exactly is this and should I get it?
Most expectant women will be offered a maternal blood-screening test around weeks 15-20 of their pregnancy. Also known as a "triple marker" test, the triple screen test measures the levels of a protein produced by the fetus as well as two pregnancy-produced hormones in the mother's blood. This test can reveal the chance that a mother is carrying a fetus with neural tube defects or Down syndrome.
The test is sometimes called a quadruple screen (or marker) when the level of an additional substance, called inhibin-A, is also measured. Keep in mind that these are screening tests and only show the possibility of a problem existing — they don't provide a definitive diagnosis, and don't catch all abnormalities. However, if results are positive that a problem could exist, other diagnostic tests can then be performed.
Reviewed by: Larissa Hirsch, MD
Date reviewed: February 2010
|Easter Seals Easter Seals is a nonprofit, community-based health and human services provider dedicated to helping children and adults with disabilities and special needs gain greater independence.|
|March of Dimes The March of Dimes seeks to prevent birth defects, infant mortality, low birthweight, and lack of prenatal care.|
|American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) This site offers information on numerous health issues. The women's health section includes readings on pregnancy, labor, delivery, postpartum care, breast health, menopause, contraception, and more.|
|Genetic Counseling Genetic counselors work with people who are either planning to have a baby or are pregnant to determine whether they carry the genes for certain inherited disorders. Find out more.|
|Medical Care During Pregnancy The sooner you begin receiving medical care during pregnancy, the better your chances of ensuring your own health and that of your baby.|
|Folic Acid and Pregnancy One of the most important things you can do to help prevent serious birth defects in your baby is to get enough folic acid every day - especially before conception and during early pregnancy.|
|Birth Defects Many parents assume that all birth defects are severe or even fatal, but many are treatable, often immediately after birth - and sometimes even before the baby is born.|
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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