Triple Marker Test: What is It and Why is it Done

Have you heard about the triple marker test in pregnancy, and do you know what if the triple marker test results positive? Well, pregnant women experience plenty of tests to ensure their baby in the womb is safe and progressing well. If you are pregnant, then your doctor will suggest various tests, including a triple marker test. This test will diagnose her if there are any genetic disorders in her baby. This test is also known as multiple screening tests or multiple marker tests.

What is the Triple Marker Test?
The triple marker test is a non-invasive blood test that is conducted between the 15 and 18 weeks of pregnancy. In this test, the blood sample is taken from the pregnant woman, and the levels of estriol, hCG, and AFP in the blood is evaluated to check if there are any abnormalities in the foetus.

  • Alpha-fetoprotein (AFP)
    The developing foetus produces AFP, which is a protein. If AFP protein has high levels, then there are more chances of potential defects, such as neural tube defects in the baby.
  • Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG)
    The placenta produces hCG, which is a hormone. High levels of hCG indicate multiple pregnancies or molar pregnancies. On the other hand, low levels of hCG indicate potential complications in the pregnancy like an ectopic pregnancy or miscarriage.
  • Estriol
    The placenta and the foetus, both produce estriol, which is oestrogen. Low levels of this hormone will imply the risk of Down syndrome.

Triple Marker Test in Pregnancy: Why is It Done?
It is important to understand what a triple marker screening test is, so you get comfortable while it is getting done. The following are some reasons why this test is done:

  • This test can detect neural tube defects and other defects related to a baby’s birth.
  • It can identify whether the baby is at risk of having Down syndrome.
  • It helps in identifying Trisomy 18 during your pregnancy.
  • This test can also identify abnormalities that can help the doctor to start further processes to treat it.
  • The trisomy test can identify if a woman is having two or more babies.

Basically, this test can detect abnormalities, if any, so that a doctor can start treatment. The test evaluates the levels of hCG and checks whether the level of hCG and estriol levels are normal or not. The triple marker test price ranges between Rs.1250 to Rs.4200.

How is the Triple Marker Test Done?
The triple marker test is performed in the same way as other blood tests are done. Here is how this test is done:

  1. The doctor will first find your vein and then place a strap around your arm.
  2. Then he/she will wipe the area with an antibacterial and antiseptic.
  3. After that he/she will put a needle in your vein to get blood.
  4. When the vial is full, then the doctor will pull out that vial. Once it is done, the doctor will again clean the area with antibacterial and antiseptic swabs.
  5. Then the taken blood sample will be sent to a lab for evaluation.
  6. Then your doctor will receive your result, and then he will tell whether the triple marker test results positive or negative.

Many of you may be afraid of having this test done because of concerns about side effects. Well, this test doesn’t have any side effects on either the mother or the baby. So, you don’t need to worry about any side effects. The procedure of this test involves a simple blood test. Once your blood is taken, then it will be sent to the lab. The report of this test will be generated in a few days. Then you’ll need to understand what its normal values are, if there is any problem, etc. to understand the report, you must contact your doctor.

Triple Marker Test Benefits
A triple marker test can identify possible complications in your pregnancy and if there are more than one foetuses. If you are 35+, then you should get this test done. The major advantage of this test is that it can detect abnormalities in the baby and help pregnant women prepare in advance for the same. Some abnormalities and genetic disorders include:

  1. Edward’s syndrome, or Trisomy 18, is a chromosome disorder.
  2. Neural tube defects are related to defects of the brain, spinal cord, and spine.

Interpretation of the Triple Marker Test Result
The positive result of the test indicates a baby has a genetic disorder. But the result will depend on some factors that are given below:

  • The pregnant woman’s age
  • Ethnicity
  • Weight of the pregnant woman
  • Whether she is expecting one baby or multiple babies

If you are 15 and 18 weeks pregnant, then you can go for this test. This test is completely safe. And now you have an idea of what if the test is positive and the triple marker test price. If the test result is negative that means your foetus has a low risk of developing any birth defects.

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