What Is A Double Marker Test & Why You Need It During Pregnancy?

Pregnancy of nine months comprises of many developments, both of the baby and the mother. Both of them grow emotionally and physically together. While it may sound a bit awkward but owing to certain reasons the growth of the baby might get hampered and the mother finds herself to be in a position of incapability. So, to avoid such circumstances, the double marker test is done in the 10–13th week of pregnancy to identify any chromosomal genetic anomalies that may be present in the growing fetus.

Now the question arises,

What is a double marker and how does it determine genetic defects?

A sample of the mother’s blood is taken and a Double marker test is done. The double marker implies to beta hCG ( human chorionic gonadotropin ) hormone and PAPP ( pregnancy-associated plasma proteins). This test is done to find the likelihood of having a baby with down syndrome.

Downs is a chromosomal abnormality affecting the development of the physical and mental condition of the baby. Double marker test is a basis before the doctor asks you to go for further testing that will furthermore make the diagnosis clear. The other tests being costlier and invasive the doctor recommends the double marker test first.

Double marker test

Who needs to get a double marker test?

  • A woman who is above the age of 35, with a history of miscarriage. Bothe the entities even separately is considered.
  • A person with a family history of a genetic disorder, even when the partner has a history of the same.
  • In a situation where fertilization is done in Vitor, the double marker test is suggested.

What is a positive double marker test?

β hCG value falling in the range of 25700 – 288000 mIU/ ml is considered normal. (Between 8 to 12 weeks of Pregnancy), normal PAPP -in the first trimester is usually a value that is more than 0.5 MoM. Also, to be more accurate the doctor also asks the mother to go for NT ( nuchal translucency) scan along with the double marker test.

It measures the amount of fluid in the baby’s neck any value lower than 3.5 mm is considered normal. NT scan along with double marker makes the diagnosis 80% more accurate. It gives a clear picture to the doctor whether to send the mother for further testing.

Here are certain points to remember before you take the Double marker test.

  • It’s a form of screenings test, the positive result of which is a ladder towards further testing.
  • It doesn’t hundred percent confirm that the baby might have a genetic anomaly
  • Beta hCG level is always on high in the first trimester, it’s only after few weeks that it gets stabilized so an increased hCG is normal. What we ought to see is its combination with PAPP.

Lastly, I would like to say these tests may not seem to be very joyous to go through but it helps the well being of the mother and the baby. Both financially and physically these test can avoid mother going through further trauma. Thus, if the doctor feels that you should take a double marker test do not question its authenticity just go for. Please do collect all the details and clear all your doubts with the doctor before you do so

Parenting is an amazing journey, so begin it with a peaceful and stress-free mind.

Picture courtesy: Shreeivfclinic.com & Practo.com

Consider reading: A Doctor’s Advice For Moms To Be

Dr. Krutika Kumaresan

Dr.Krutika. Kumaresan MPT is an Adult and Paediatric neuro therapist.                                                                                                                 

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