What is Triple Marker Screen Test

  • Author :
  • TATA AIG Team
  • Published on :
  • 29/11/2023

Medical advancements bring us all comfort and make us aware of health conditions. We all understand and can take note of what’s wrong with our health. But, when it comes to an unborn baby’s health, it is hard to sense their well-being.

To ensure and monitor a baby’s growth throughout the pregnancy journey, one medical test that can be performed is the Triple Marker Test in pregnancy.

In this blog, we will explore more about its purpose, significance, procedures, implications, etc.

Triple Marker Screen - What Does it Mean?

It is a type of medical screening test done during pregnancy to examine the risk of genetic or chromosomal disease in a growing foetus.

This test is done in the prenatal phase of pregnancy. It is aimed at assessing the health and development of the foetus in the mother’s womb.

Triple Marker Test Procedure

This medical examination is carried out by estimating the levels of the following substances in maternal blood.

  • Alpha-fetoprotein (AFP)

  • Beta-Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG)

  • Unconjugated estriol (uE3)

Let us understand the step-by-step procedure of the Triple Marker Screen Test:

  • The medical technician will first locate the vein for blood extraction.

  • The tourniquet will be tied 4-5 fingers above the selected site.

  • You will be asked to form a fist so that the vein becomes more prominent.

  • Further, the area around the vein will be cleaned and disinfected.

  • A new sterilised needle will be inserted and the vial is filled with the blood sample from the pregnant mother's arm.

  • The area will be cleaned and pressed gently with a cotton swab.

  • The blood sample is then transferred to the blood tube and taken to the laboratory for analysis.

  • Patients can get reports within three days.

Note- Blood Sample is collected similarly to other blood tests, triple marker test can be carried out at any time at per convenience of the patient. No fasting is required before the test. It is Prescribed to stay hydrated and have a light meal.

Benefits of Triple Marker Screen Test

Follow are the reasons why Triple Marker Screen Tests are helpful:

  • Pregnant women with previous pregnancy complications can take this test to ensure the health of the baby.

  • For mothers aged 35 years or older, the risk of congenital abnormalities such as Down syndrome increases. This test can help in early detection.

  • Couples with a previous history of any genetic disorders can take this test to assess the baby’s health.

  • In cases of any abnormality found in routine ultrasounds, this test works as a supportive checkup.

  • The test helps in diagnosing the possibility of two or more babies in a mother’s womb.

Triple Marker Screen Test Cost

This test normally costs around ₹1,000 to ₹4,000. It depends on the clinic facilities, comfort, and place of checkup.

Average Range of Triple Marker Screen Test Reports

Triple marker test normal values are provided in the table below:

Substances Alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) Beta-Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) Unconjugated estriol (uE3)
Avg. Level 1.38 - 187.00 IU/ml 1.06 - 315 ng/ml 0.25 - 28.5 nmol/l 

When Do You Need a Doctor’s Consultancy?

If the value does not lie within these average triple marker test values consult a doctor immediately. These are just screening tests to spectacular the possibility of congenital disorders in babies.

These are not confirmatory tests. Doctors may recommend more confirmatory tests such as amniocentesis for further clarification.

Positive Triple Marker Screen Test

The Triple marker test results are considered to be positive when the concentration of substances is higher than their average levels in the pregnant woman’s blood.

What does it Indicate?

The positive results of the Triple Marker Screen Test can indicate health complications in the baby such as Down’s Syndrome, Edward Syndrome, Neural Tube Deficiency, and Other congenital disabilities.

Here are some common implications of positive triple marker screen test results:

If beta-HCG is high while alpha-fetoprotein and estriol are low, it indicates the chances of Trisomy 21 in the foetus which means Down Syndrome.

If all three tests show low levels then it indicates chances of Trisomy 18 which is Edward’s Syndrome. It is a rare condition where a baby’s health deteriorates over a lifetime

If a patient sample has a low level of alpha-fetoprotein it indicates a neural tube defect in the growing foetus.

What to Do if the Test Result is Positive?

Here are some practices a pregnant woman can follow:

  • Eat more green leafy vegetables

  • Drink enough water

  • Avoid smoking, drugs, and tobacco

  • Exercise regularly or else go for a walk

  • Meditate, relax and remain stress-free.

  • Go for early conception in case of high complexities

  • It is advisable to consult a doctor beforehand.

Difference Between Double Marker and Triple Marker Screen Test

Differences between Double Marker and Triple Marker Tests are as follows:

Scope Double Marker Screen Test Triple Marker Screen Test
Period of Examination 1st Trimester of pregnancy 2nd Trimester of pregnancy
Estimation 2 Hormones are tested Beta-Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) Pregnancy-associated plasma protein A (PAPP-A) 3 Hormones are tested Alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) Beta-Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) Unconjugated estriol (uE3)
Appropriate time for checkup 11-14 weeks 15-20 weeks

To Sum Up

A triple screen test in pregnancy includes no risk of miscarriage and is considered safe for both the foetus and the mother. There are chances of this test being inaccurate sometimes. It is very important to consult a doctor once.

Becoming parents is a blessing but it also comes with several responsibilities. During this time it is highly advisable to have health insurance for to-be parents.

Tata AIG offers affordable individual health insurance facilities for you and your loved ones. A family’s health should be covered under the medical insurance plan, so that in case of any urgency you can be worry-free about any medical expenses.

Disclaimer / TnC

Your policy is subjected to terms and conditions & inclusions and exclusions mentioned in your policy wording. Please go through the documents carefully.

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