Triple Marker Test-Procedure, Time and Results Needed


Pregnancy is a beautiful stage in a woman’s life. From time to time, certain genes are passed from parent to child. Therefore, doctors recommend some tests and scans to make sure your child is free of chromosomal abnormalities. One of the tests that helps detect chromosomal abnormalities is Triple marker test.. Read all about the Triple Marker Test, the associated benefits, and why it’s prescribed.

What is a triple marker test?

The triple marker test is a simple test to identify genetic or chromosomal abnormalities at the prenatal stage.

When do you need the triple marker test?

The triple marker test is a blood test performed on pregnant women with a gestational age of 15 to 20 weeks to assess the possibility of fetal defects. This test may be necessary if the results of the double marker test are not conclusive. This test is highly recommended if the pregnant mother has any of the following signs and characteristics:

  • Family history of genetic problems
  • 35 years old and over
  • Taking insulin for diabetes
  • Suffering from or experiencing prenatal viral infections
  • Exposure to radiation
  • Taking medicines with serious side effects

Health care providers may recommend this test in a second trimester to analyze serum levels of the three hormones.

  • Alpha-fetoprotein (AFP)
  • Non-conjugated estriol
  • Human chorionic gonadotropin (beta-hCG)

What are the types of hormones tested in the triple marker test?

As mentioned above, the triple marker test analyzes three hormones. Here is a detailed understanding of all three hormones.

1.1. Alpha-fetoprotein ((((AFP)

This is a protein produced by the fetus. If high levels of this protein are detected, it may indicate that the developing baby has neural tube defects such as spina bifida and anencephaly.

However, the most common reason for elevated AFP levels is an incorrect date of pregnancy. Low levels of AFP and abnormal levels of hCG and estriol may indicate that a developing baby has trisomy 21 (Down’s syndrome), trisomy 18 (Edwards syndrome), or another type of chromosomal abnormality. There is sex.

The main reason for conducting the test is to screen for hereditary disorders, but the results of triple screening can also be used to identify:

  • pregnancy
  • Pregnancy more or less advanced than expected

2.2. Estriol

Low levels of estriol found in both the fetus and placenta indicate a risk that the baby will be born with Down syndrome. The risk is even higher when combined with low AFP levels and high hCG levels.

3.3. Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG)

Low levels of hCG produced in the placenta may indicate an ectopic pregnancy or miscarriage. On the contrary, high levels of hCG may indicate hydatidiform mole or multiple pregnancies.

When do I need to go to the doctor?

If your triple marker test results are not conclusive or show unusual levels, it is highly recommended that you consult your healthcare provider as soon as possible.

How Do Pregnant Women Need to Prepare for the Triple Marker Test?

Pregnant women do not need to prepare for the triple marker test and there are no fasting requirements for this test.

What happens during the procedure?

Similar to a blood test. When the skin is clean, insert a needle and collect blood. The blood will later be sent to the laboratory for analysis. Rubber bands can be placed to make the veins more accessible.

What are the complications of the triple marker test?

There are no complications associated with the triple marker test, except for the mild discomfort associated with the needle.

What are the benefits of testing?

Triple marker screen tests can show potential pregnancy-related complications and the presence of multiple pregnancies. This can help parents properly prepare for childbirth.

What does the triple test result mean?

It is important to remember that the triple test is a screening test, not a diagnostic test. This test only shows that the mother may be at risk of giving birth to a baby with a genetic disorder. Triple screen tests are known to have a high percentage of false positive results.

Abnormal test results guarantee additional tests to make a diagnosis.

Doctors frequently consider several other factors that may affect test results, such as:

  • Mother’s weight, ethnicity, age
  • Whether the mother has diabetes
  • Whether the mother is pregnant with multiple fetuses

What is the next step after receiving the results?

Triple marker tests have a high percentage of false positives reported. Health care providers know how to read reports accurately. Therefore, it is important to discuss the results with them.

A more conservative approach is to perform a second triple screen followed by a high resolution ultrasound. If the test still shows unusual results, you can perform more invasive procedures such as amniocentesis. Invasive testing procedures should be thoroughly discussed between your healthcare provider and you and your partner.

If the results show high levels of AFP, the doctor can order detailed ultrasound to check the fetal skull and spine for neural tube defects. Ultrasound may also help determine the age of the fetus and the number of fetuses the woman is carrying.


Various pregnancy-related tests and scans are essential to determine if a woman expects a healthy baby. If your baby is at risk of defects, this test will help parents better prepare to deal with the health problems that may arise from their expected condition.


What are the obstacles that can be screened with the help of the triple marker test?

The following are some of the disorders that can be screened for in this test.

Is it possible to harm my baby during the exam?

Blood is taken from the mother and analyzed in the laboratory. There are no steps taken for your baby. Therefore, there is no harm to your baby during this test.

Are there any steps to remember before taking the test?

There are no specific steps required to prepare for this test.

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