Nov 16, 2022
Pregnancy is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful and blissful phases in any woman’s life. However, there may be some concerns that one may have, related to the health of the unborn child. In every pregnancy, several tests and scans are performed that help in determining the growth and health of the foetus. These tests not only help the doctor make sure that the foetus is growing the way it should be but also help put the minds of expecting parents at ease. One such test suggested in pregnancy is the double market test. Also known as the dual marker test, it forms an important part of prenatal screening.
Here’s more on what the double marker test is in pregnancy, why it is required, and how to interpret the results of the double marker test:
In this test, ‘double marker’ means that two markers, free beta – hCG and PAPP-A will be measured. A double marker test is performed in pregnancy to determine the risk of complications with the unborn child. This blood test involves checking the levels of both beta-human chorionic gonadotropin (free beta – hCG) and pregnancy-related proteins like A (PAPP-A) in the pregnant woman’s blood. It helps in determining the possibilities of a foetus developing chromosomal abnormalities or neurological disorders.
This test is prescribed in the first trimester of pregnancy. Usually, the window to undergo the double marker test is very short as the screening needs to be performed between the gestational age of 11 and 14 weeks.
However, this is just a predictive test, which means that it can only determine the likelihood of any abnormalities or disorders developing. This blood test alone cannot confirm any results, so it is used along with an ultrasound, which is called a nuchal translucency (NT) scan. The NT scan examines the clear tissue at the back of the baby’s neck, and the doctor checks the double marker test report along with the scan results before coming to a conclusion.
According to a number of studies, approximately 2,40,000 newborns worldwide die within 28 days of birth, every year, due to birth defects. These defects may range from metabolic disorders to chromosomal abnormalities, neurological disorders to heart defects, etc. To avoid any complications at the time of childbirth, comprehensive prenatal screening is recommended for every pregnant female.
A double marker test is an important part of this screening process. his test becomes all the more important for a person if the pregnant female is over the age of 35 or has risk factors for chromosomal issues.
Generally, female foetuses contain 22 pairs of XX chromosomes, and male foetuses contain 22 pairs of XY chromosomes. In some situations, a foetus may have some extra chromosomes, which is a condition that can lead to the development of a number of issues, such as:
Down Syndrome: This is one of the most common chromosomal abnormalities. It is also known as trisomy 21 because it occurs when there a baby has an extra copy of chromosome 21.
Trisomy 18: This chromosomal abnormality is caused by an extra copy of chromosome 18 and is also known as Edward’s syndrome.
Trisomy 13: This condition occurs when there is an extra copy of chromosome 13. It is also known as Patau’s syndrome.
In all of the above cases, the double marker test report of the pregnant female can help with the detection of the condition through its results, which may indicate hCG and PAPP-A levels are either higher or lower than normal.
The double marker test results are generally categorised as low-risk, moderate-risk, or high-risk, whereas a low-risk double marker test result means that the probability of the unborn child developing chromosomal abnormalities is very low. It indicates that the result values for the double marker test are within the normal range.
The normal result values for a double marker test in pregnancy can vary from one female to another. It depends on a number of factors, such as age, medical condition, family history, etc. That is why it is always a good idea to consult a doctor who will do a proper analysis of the double marker test report to interpret the results and suggest further steps, as required.
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