Should You Opt For The Double Marker Test In Pregnancy?

Should You Opt For The Double Marker Test In Pregnancy?

30 Nov 2022 | 6 min Read

Nidhi Pandey

Author | 45 Articles

As your first trimester comes to an end, you may start to wonder what hair colour your unborn child will have. Do they resemble you or your partner? While the answers to these questions won’t be known for some time, your OB-GYN might suggest testing or screenings to find out more about your developing child. One such test is called the double marker test, which involves drawing blood that needs to be evaluated for indicators of certain chromosomal abnormalities and other possible complications. Here are some details about the administration of the test, its screening criteria, and what to expect from the double marker test results.

What Is the Double Marker Test?

During your first trimester, your gynaecologist will recommend a thorough screening that includes the double marker test, commonly known as maternal serum screening. It isn’t a conclusive test. This test specifically checks blood levels of pregnancy-associated plasma protein A  (PAPP-A) and free beta-human chorionic gonadotrophin (beta-hCG). In a typical pregnancy, male or female foetuses will have 22 pairs of XX chromosomes or 22 pairs of XY chromosomes.

Why Is the Double Marker Test Conducted?

A prenatal blood test, also known as a double marker test is basically done during the first trimester of pregnancy to look for any potential chromosomal abnormalities in the foetus.

When to Opt For the Double Marker Test?

Your doctor will ask you to schedule an appointment for the double marker test in the early second trimester or near the end of your first trimester. Your blood will be taken, particularly somewhere between weeks 11 and 14.

Double Marker Test Price 

The double marker test in pregnancy can cost somewhere between 2,500 to 3,500 INR. 

What to Expect from a Double Marker Test 

The double marker test in pregnancy is an easy blood test. You will receive a prescription from your doctor to take to a lab. It is a non-fasting pregnancy test, and you can eat and drink before your session unless you have received specific instructions from your doctor. In most cases, you can see your results in 3 days or a week. It would be a good idea to find out if your clinic will call you or if you should call to acquire your results.

Standard Results for The Double Marker Test

Before the double marker test, a low moderate or high-risk outcome will be given to you. Low-risk (screen-negative) signifies normal values in the double marker test and denotes a low likelihood of chromosomal abnormalities in your unborn child. If your test result falls within the normal range, an additional test before pregnancy will only be advised if there is some other sign (such as family history, age, etc.) or if you have a specific interest in learning more.

What Does An Abnormal Value In a Double Marker Test Tell You?

If your screening reveals abnormalities that are moderate or high-risk (screen-positive), you can decide to discuss your results with a genetic counsellor to learn more. As the double marker test is performed early in your pregnancy, you have plenty of time to consider the results before deciding on additional testing, medical interventions, and the general management of your pregnancy and birth.

Risks Associated With the Double Marker Test In Pregnancy

The double marker test has no risks. This blood test is non-intrusive. You will just need to follow your doctor’s advice and speak with your physician if you have any questions.

NT Scan and Double Marker Test

In the first trimester screening, the double marker test (blood test) and NT scan (ultrasound) are combined for to ensure reliable findings. The results of the two tests determine if there is a low, moderate, or high risk of abnormalities.

The NT scan is less successful in identifying potential problems when it is conducted without the double marker test. The NT scan uses sound waves which helps  your doctor to capture a live image of your infant. The double marker test is conducted at about the same time as this one. Your doctor can gauge the size of the clear region on the back of your unborn child at that point in the pregnancy, late in the first trimester. Your doctor will also examine the growth of your nasal bone during this test.

Double Marker Test Report Images

Image Credit: t-images.imgix.net

Image Credit: t-images.imgix.net

The Takeaway

Should you opt for the test or not? Start by understanding the benefits and drawbacks of the double marker test and first trimester screening if you’re not sure what to do. Consider how this knowledge might influence your decision to undergo more tests and how your pregnancy will be managed. Also, make sure to discuss this test’s value in light of your particular circumstances with your healthcare practitioner. Whatever you decide, maintaining regular contact with your doctor is essential for a safe pregnancy.

FAQs

In which month of pregnancy is a double marker test done? 

A prenatal blood test during pregnancy known as a “double marker test” is carried out in the first trimester of pregnancy to look for any potential chromosomal abnormalities.

What if the double marker test is positive?

If the double marker test comes positive, the doctor may suggest other diagnostic techniques such as amniocentesis or chorionic villus sample to identify the issue.

Does a double marker test reveal the baby’s gender?

No, a double marker test cannot predict the gender of the fetus. This is due to the fact that this blood test is done to check for chromosomal abnormalities between the 8-14 weeks of pregnancy.

What if the double marker test comes negative? 

It means that there’s a low probability of your baby having chromosomal abnormalities.

Related Search

Difference Between Screening And Diagnostic Tests: Like many mothers out there, you too might have wondered what might be the difference between a screening and a diagnostic test. Don’t fret, as we’re here to help you understand the difference between the two. Check it out here!

Cover Image Credit: Freepik.com

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