Quadruple Marker Test: Its Importance & Benefits

Motherhood, a beautiful experience as it may be, comes with risks and complications that women must be aware of. Doing so gives the care and protection a newborn may need in the future.

Women should get tested during pregnancy to determine if the baby is at risk of developing certain birth defects or whether the baby has genetic disorders. To ascertain these, a quadruple screen test is performed.

The quad marker screen test offers important pregnancy information. It can help you predict your baby's chances of having Down syndrome, Edward's syndrome (trisomy 18), or neural tube abnormalities.

How is a Quadruple Marker Test performed?

A quadruple test is usually done between the 15th and 22nd week of pregnancy. It is the most accurate between the 16th and 18th.

Your health practitioner will take your blood sample and test it to measure the levels of 4 pregnancy hormones:

  • Alpha-fetoprotein (AFP)
  • Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG),
  • Unconjugated estriol (uE3),
  • Inhibin A

Your healthcare provider may conduct a triple screen test if the test does not measure levelsImageof inhibin.

A triple screen test accounts for the following factors to determine the likelihood of your baby having a birth defect:

  • Mother's Age
  • Ethnic Background
  • Your Weight
  • Gestational period of the baby

The following women are at a higher risk of having such complications during pregnancy:

  • Being over 35 years
  • Taking insulin treatment
  • A family history of birth defects

What do the Normal Results Indicate?

A healthy Quadruple Marker test will indicate the normal presence of AFP, estriol, hCG, and Inhibin-A. It indicates a healthy pregnancy and good health of the baby. In over 98% of pregnancies, normal quad marker screen results predict healthy babies. However, no prenatal tests guarantee a healthy baby or pregnancy without complications.

What Abnormal Results Mean

An abnormal test result does NOT indicate a birth defect. Many times, the results can be abnormal if your baby is older or younger than your healthcare practitioner had thought.

Upon receiving an abnormal result, you will undergo another ultrasound to assess the age of the baby. If the ultrasound detects a problem, other tests and counselling may be recommended for further diagnosis of the problem.

The Next Step

Even though it is your decision whether or not to have the test, it is advisable that you take the test to give your child the comfort and care they need if they should develop any abnormality. If you fall under the high-risk category, talk to your doctor and get tested so that you could be tension free regarding your and your child's health.

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