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Somewhere between weeks 15 and 20 of your pregnancy, you can choose to have a blood test to learn more about the health of your developing baby (fetus). Your doctor can use the results plus your age and the fetus's age to estimate the risk of certain health problems. These may include Down syndrome or a spine that is not closed (spina bifida).
Your doctor may prefer either the triple screen or the quadruple (quad) screen. The triple screen measures the amounts of alpha-fetoprotein (AFP), human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), and estriol (uE3) in your blood. The quad measures these three plus inhibin A.
These tests can only tell if there is a chance that there might be a problem. They cannot tell for certain that there is a problem. If test results point to a problem, your doctor may suggest other tests to find out for sure if there is a problem. These tests include amniocentesis and ultrasound.
You get to decide if you want to have these tests. Be sure to talk about your preferences and concerns with your doctor.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
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Current as of: May 29, 2019
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & Siobhan M. Dolan MD, MPH - Reproductive Genetics
Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.
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