During pregnancy, a woman has to undergo many tests. Some tests are performed to ensure both the mother-to-be and the baby’s good health. Usually, doctors recommend other tests if they appear to suspect any problem. The double marker test falls within the second category.
What Is Double Marker Test?
A double marker (dual marker) test is a non-invasive screening to detect aneuploidy (presence of an abnormal number of chromosomes) pregnancies during the first trimester. It plays a key role in defining the likelihood of getting a child with neurological conditions, such as Down’s Syndrome (trisomy 21), Edward’s Syndrome (trisomy 18) and Patau’s Syndrome (trisomy 13). It is generally done between the 10th and 14th weeks of pregnancy.
Advantages of Double Marker Test
The double marker test helps to identify defects of the chromosome in the fetus. But this is just one of the reasons why this experiment was conducted. Some other reasons why physicians recommend this test are listed below:
- The double marker test is a very reliable test, and most of the moment it helps to correctly identify any defects or problems.
- If the test findings are positive, i.e. the detection of chromosomal abnormalities, further diagnostic procedures or measures can be taken to identify the issue. This test will help to quickly define the anomalies.
- Doctors usually recommend an advanced test to check for Down syndrome or Edward syndrome in the baby once this test is done. Before it becomes too late, performing this test enables a doctor to identify an issue and provide the required treatment course.
- In the early phases of pregnancy, you can choose to terminate the pregnancy if the test findings are positive and neurological disease is diagnosed.
How to Prepare for the Test
Since double marker testing is essentially a blood test, you won’t need any particular preparations from your end. However, if during pregnancy you are on any medication, tell your doctor about it. You may be advised to stop taking the medication in rare cases until the test is performed. Also, let your doctor know about it if you have any allergies or medical conditions.
How Double Marker Test Done?
The Double Marker Test depends mainly on the Nuchal Translucency (NT) test, which measures the fluid to screen for Down syndrome behind the fetal neck. Blood test sampling is carried out to check for two markers, depending on the NT measurements.
- Free beta hCG (human chorionic gonadotrophin) – High concentrations indicate the danger of Down’s syndrome, and low concentrations indicate the syndrome of Edward.
- PAPP-A (plasma protein associated with pregnancy) – Low concentrations indicate the danger of Down syndrome.
If the outcome is positive, there is an opportunity to end the pregnancy itself without any complications in the early phases.
Normal Values of the Test
The average free beta hCG values are between 25,700 and 2,88,000 mIU / mL (milli-international units per milliliter) and PAPP-A is 1 MoM (multiple medians) regardless of age group.
What If The Results Of The Test Do Not Fall Within The Normal Range?
If the concentrations of beta-HCG are more than the normal range, Down syndrome is a positive indicator. It is taken as a positive double marker when combined with low PAPP-A value. You may need additional tests to confirm the diagnosis.
Additional tests such as amniocentesis and chorionic villus sampling (CVS) would be invasive and would test the fetal cells present in the amniotic fluid
Cost of Double Marker Test:
Double Marker Test costs vary across cities and hospitals. It could vary from Rs. 1000 to Rs. 5000 depending on the place, quality, and accessibility.
Every screening test for pregnancy has its significance. However, before heading for any test, you should discuss all the pros and cons with your doctor. If the results are positive, wait for confirmation from your doctor before you worry. Sometimes during the final assessment and confirmation, positive screening results may become negative.
Always have a support system. Take your partner or family member with you when these tests done. It can be daunting to see any result, positive or negative. Having someone to assist you through the process is always wonderful, even if it’s just to calm your nerves. Regardless of the result, talk to your caregiver about future plans for your pregnancy.
Also Read: Know How To Avoid Pregnancy After 1 Month