AFP test in pregnancy – Check for birth defects

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AFP (Alpha-Fetoprotein) Test

AFP is a test used to check for birth defects in your baby. AFP is a protein made by your baby during pregnancy.  This passes into your blood and can be used to spot problems with your baby while in the womb.

To test AFP levels, a blood sample is taken from you. If the AFP level is high or low, your baby may have a birth defect. The test causes no harm to you or to your baby. It can only test for some birth defects.

Talk to your doctor about having this test, remember, you can choose to not have this test.

What do the test results mean?

If your due date has changed or you are carrying twins, your result may be high or low. If your AFP level is high or low, there will be more tests.

These tests may include:

  • A repeat of the AFP test to check results
  • A scan of your baby using sound reflections called an ultrasound
  • A test to check the fluid surrounding your baby called amniocentesis
  • Genetic counseling to analyze your test results and make decisions. Test results are sent to your doctor. Your doctor will share the results with you and discuss your options.

Talk to your doctor or nurse if you have any questions or concerns.