Quadruple marker test

Know the Importance of Quadruple Marker Test

Specific blood tests can indicate the health of a fetus. Such tests are a boon for expecting mothers as they get relevant information regarding fetal growth and development, as well as other anomalies if any.  

Pregnancy is a sensitive and joyful phase in human life. All new parents wish to be ready to welcome their child into the world. To do so, they must know the status of the growing fetus. To know all about it, conducting a Quadruple marker test is necessary.

What Is A Quadruple Marker Test?

Also known as the quad marker screening, the Quadruple marker test is a blood test for pregnant women. If you want to know the health of the unborn child, this test is crucial. Doctors advise pregnant women to go for this test during the second trimester of their pregnancy. It is done to ensure that there are no complications or abnormalities in the baby’s growth inside the womb.

The Quad marker test can also help estimate the baby’s risk of having neural tube defects, Down syndrome, or Edward’s syndrome. The test provides predictions of the problem and not its diagnosis. It also states that if a woman has a healthy baby, the screening will denote a positive problem. But if there are chances of birth defects, they will go unnoticed. 

What Can Be Measured By A Quadruple Marker Test?

In this blood test, the blood sample of the pregnant woman is sent to the lab. This sample is tested for the presence of four main things that are normally present in the baby’s brain; blood, amniotic fluid, and spinal cord. 

1. Unconjugated Estriol (UE)

It is the protein present in the placenta as well as the liver of the baby. 

2. Inhibin-A

This hormone can be found in the placenta of the baby. 

3. Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG)

This hormone is present in the placenta of the developing baby. 

4. Alpha-Fetoprotein (AFP)

This Protein can be found in the liver as well as other organs of the baby. 

The amount of these substances present in the blood of the pregnant woman varies weekly. It is crucial to inform the doctor how far along you is in your trimester stage. If the level of AFP is high, it indicates that your baby has an open neural tube defect. 

It can also detect that the baby is either older than you have thought or that the woman might be having twins. If the AFP level is lower than normal, it indicates that the baby can suffer from Down syndrome. 

The Inhibin-A and hCG levels rise when there is an increased risk of having a baby with Down syndrome. If the levels of Estriol are lower than normal, the baby may develop high risks of Down syndrome. 

Do I Need To Have A Quadruple Marker Test?

While it is recommended by healthcare professionals to go for a quad marker screening, it is completely up to you. If you are intrigued to know about the health of your baby, you can make use of this test. But it is advisable to undergo a quad marker screening in the following conditions:

  1. If the pregnant woman is 35 years or older.  
  2. When the woman bears a family history of congenital disabilities.
  3. If the woman has had a child with congenital liabilities. 
  4. When the woman is suffering from insulin-dependent Diabetes. 

What To Do When The Test Results Come As Either Normal Or Abnormal?

An abnormal test result does not indicate that the fetus will surely have a birth defect or congenital disability. It only implies that the blood levels of the four substances present indicate that the fetus is at risk of developing such conditions. So, after you get the results as abnormal, further tests are conducted to determine the root of the problem. One may either repeat the Quadruple marker test or go for ultrasound examinations to determine whether there are any birth defects or not.

If the results of the Quadruple marker test come as abnormal, the woman is asked to undergo Amniocentesis. It means withdrawal of the amniotic fluid so that tests can be run on the same. It helps in determining whether there are chromosomal or genetic defects that can give rise to birth defects. 

The Bottom Line

It is highly recommended to undergo a Quadruple marker test to make sure that the fetus growing inside the pregnant woman is healthy. The next course of action can be planned by the doctor based on the test results.

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