What is Triple Test Marker (2nd Trimester)?
A triple marker test is done in pregnant women to detect any abnormalities in the fetus before birth. The triple marker with graph test is also known as the Triple test, multiple marker test, multiple marker screening, and AFP plus test.
This test measures three markers in the blood:
- Alpha-fetoprotein (AFP)
- Human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG)
Why is Triple Marker with Graph (2nd Trimester) done?
- To diagnose Down syndrome
- To diagnose neural tube defects
- To diagnose the failure of closure of the abdomen in the fetus.
- To diagnose multiple pregnancies
- To diagnose miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy
What does Triple Marker with Graph (2nd Trimester) Measure?
This test measures three markers which include AFP, HCG, and estriol in the blood. As there are three markers involved, it is known as the Triple Marker test.
AFP is a protein that is produced by the fetus. If the levels of AFP are high, it indicates neural tube defects in the fetus or there can be incomplete closure of the fetus abdomen.
HCG hormone is produced by cells of the placenta. If the levels of HCG are low, it indicates a miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy. Whereas, if the levels of HCG are high this indicates multiple pregnancies.
Estriol is a form of the hormone estrogen which is present in both the fetus and placenta. If the levels of estriol are low, it indicates the risk of the baby getting delivered with Down syndrome especially when the levels of AFP are low and HCG are high.
If the levels of all these three markers are abnormal, there can be a presence of neural tube defects like spina bifida (spinal cord fails to develop properly), anencephaly (absence of brain, skull, and scalp), and multiple pregnancies (twins or triplets).
This test is done between 15-20 weeks of pregnancy. Females who are 35 years or more, have a family history of birth defects, or have diabetes, or are using insulin have a higher risk of getting abnormal values of these markers. Exposure to high levels of radiation or having a viral infection during pregnancy can also be considered as possible risk factors associated with these high levels. This test is also helpful to indicate any complications in the fetus after birth.
Can the defects in the fetus be caused because of the age of pregnant women?
Yes, a pregnant woman who is 35 years or older has a greater risk of developing defects in the fetus. Apart from that, other factors such as exposure of the woman to high levels of radiation, diabetes, or if the woman is taking insulin can affect the development of the fetus. Viral infection at the time of pregnancy can also be a risk factor in the development of the fetus.
Is Triple marker with graph test only advised for women of age 35 years or more?
No, this test is not only for women of age 35 years or more. Every pregnant woman is advised to take this test, as it is very important for detecting any abnormality in the fetus before birth. This test is done between 15 and 20 weeks of pregnancy.