Alpha-fetoprotein blood test is used to measure the AFP in the blood. AFP is where the rich plasma protein is found in the fetus, which flows in the fetal through the maternal blood. The test is commonly used during the second trimester of pregnancy and called it the quad or triple screen. However, the test can also be undergone by adults who are not pregnant. For adults, if the AFP is high, it can be linked with other kinds of liver disease.


Why Do You Need An Alpha-fetoprotein Blood Test?

The AFP test is a normal assessment offered to pregnant women during their 14th and 22nd weeks. The testing is normally a part of the quad screen that examines the level of your:

Furthermore, specialists will utilize your quad screen results, your age, and your identity to help decide if there’s a possibility that your unborn infant has a hereditary birth defect. Defects distinguished by this sort of screening can incorporate neural tube defects, for example, spina bifida, and chromosomal anomalies, like Down syndrome.

The AFP results will assist your physician in deciding whether you need another set of tests for these conditions. If the result turns out positive, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the baby will develop any birth conditions or complications. 

Who Is At Risk?

The Alpha-fetoprotein blood test is very essential for those pregnant mothers who are at high risk of developing children with birth conditions, including the following:

  • 35 years old or older women
  • Diabetic mothers
  • Have a history of birth conditions or defects running in the family
  • Women who are taking any medications while pregnant.  

For non- pregnant women, AFP can help recognize and observe some complications, like hepatitis, cirrhosis, liver cancer, and other liver problems. Also, cancer in the ovary, stomach, biliary tract, pancreas, and testes can be detected through this test.    


How Is It Performed?

Before the AFP, the physicians didn’t require any preparation. The physician will get a blood sample to be examined in the diagnostic lab. The test will last for a couple of minutes, but since this test is a painless one, you don’t have to worry about the pain. 

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