I am 15 weeks pregnant with my first child and the doctor asked if I wanted a triple screen test. What exactly is this and should I get it?
Most expectant women will be offered a maternal blood-screening test around weeks 15-20 of their pregnancy. Also known as a "triple marker" test, the triple screen test measures the levels of a protein produced by the fetus as well as two pregnancy-produced hormones in the mother's blood. This test can reveal the chance that a mother is carrying a fetus with neural tube defects or Down syndrome.
The test is sometimes called a quadruple screen (or marker) when the level of an additional substance, called inhibin-A, is also measured. Keep in mind that these are screening tests and only show the possibility of a problem existing — they don't provide a definitive diagnosis, and don't catch all abnormalities. However, if results are positive that a problem could exist, other diagnostic tests can then be performed.
Reviewed by: Mary L. Gavin, MD
Date reviewed: July 2013
|Easter Seals Easter Seals is a nonprofit, community-based health and human services provider dedicated to helping children and adults with disabilities and special needs gain greater independence.|
|National Society of Genetic Counselors This organization represents the genetic counseling profession through research, advocacy, and education.|
|March of Dimes The March of Dimes seeks to prevent birth defects, infant mortality, low birthweight, and lack of prenatal care.|
|American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) This site offers information on numerous health issues. The women's health section includes readings on pregnancy, labor, delivery, postpartum care, breast health, menopause, contraception, and more.|
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