Patient: I am currently 18 weeks pregnant and have just received results for my alpha-fetaprotein test. The results came back higher than they should have been…..69 instead of 39. I am a Canadian living in Italy and my gynocologist did not suggest I do a different test such as the amnio or triple screen test, the latter of which may not be available here. I am quite worried. I have done research on the internet and I have read that I am possibly 1 to 2 out of 50 women who are at risk of carrying a child with some form of birth defect related to the spine. Can you please offer me some advice. Should I consult another gynocologist or need I not worry so much?
Doctor: I understand how worried you are about your high Maternal Serum AFP levels. First of all, let me reassure you that this s is a screening test and is not a diagnostic test.As a screening test, this will only suggest your physician that a possibility of open neural tube defect or other defects might be present. This test combined with your age and further testing might rule out the possibility definitely. I agree with you that most results are false negative but if you want to feel more comfortable and rule out a possible condition i would suggest you to re test, if this time the results come back high again, the next step would be triple test and possibly a 3d ultrasound.