Genetic Disorders Expert Forum
Alpha Protein in Pregnancy
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Alpha Protein in Pregnancy

I am 20 weeks pregnant and had my maternal serum test done which showed a 1 in 200 chance of spina bifida. My peri did an u/s and has ruled spina bifida out with great confidence, but now he is saying that because of the elevated alpha protein there could be a problem with the placenta later in the pregnancy? And possibly prevent the baby in growing. Could you explain this a little bit more to me? He had scheduled me for another u/s for 32 weeks. Any info would be greatly appreciated.

Thanking you in advance
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Maternal serum screening is a tool healthcare providers use to determine the risks that a developing baby may have open spina bifida, Down syndrome or trisomy 18. Elevated AFP (alpha-fetoprotein) in particular has been associated with open spina bifida. I am glad to hear that has been ruled out.

Scientists have asked the question-if the AFP is elevated, and there is no spina bifida, what else is going on? Studies have found that in most people the elevated AFP didn’t have any further meaning. In a small number of women, however, the elevated AFP was possibly a sign that there could be some complications late in the pregnancy, such as the baby grew too slowly or the placenta released from the uterine wall too early (abruption).

There are not enough studies right now to give you a specific risk that these things could happen, and the studies that exist vary in their opinion of how sensitive elevated AFP is for later pregnancy complications. Your healthcare provider clearly wants to make sure that all bases are covered, and if you happen to be one of the small number of women who have a complication, he/she wants to catch it early to keep you and your baby healthy.
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