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AFP Screening
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AFP Screening

I was told that my AFP screening is abnormal and there is a chance that my child would be born with Down's syndrome. What are the chances of my child being born with this defect? Should I have an amniocentesis?
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The first step after an abnormal AFP is an ultrasound done by someone experienced with high risk pregnancy.  They can look for some "markers" of Downs and other genetic disorders.  Then a decision can be made as to whether or not an amnio would be appropriate in your case.  A lot depends on your age and family history, too.

Many times AFP's are abnormal for other, less frightening reasons.  Sometimes it was drawn at the wrong time during the pregnancy, your dates may be off, etc.  Sometimes AFP is abnormal, all tests are done, and NOTHING is wrong.  

So get a "Targeted Ultrasound" to check for "markers" of Downs first, and then have a discussion as to what to do next.
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yes christie is right,a co worker of mine had it done and they told  her her son would be down syndrome and they did the ultra and found nothing as well the amnio came back normal, and he is here and fine, if they conduct the test to early or too late its bound to be abnormal, but to follow through with the anio is up to you 4 at my job in there mid 30 had it done even though the blood test was fine they were given the option because of the age factor, but they all said it was ok and quite painless, you just have to stay in bed a while after...
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Dear Blessing,
I had the same test with my first baby and it came back low
positive for Down's Syndrome.  I followed the advice of my
Doctor and had the Amniocentecis.  The results came back negative
for Down's 10 days later and my baby died from the test 3 days
after the results due to the loss of his amniotic fluid.
The MSAFP IS ALMOST ALWAYS WRONG!!!
Go to an well known center that has "State of the Art"
ultrasound equipment.  The new machines are 3D and there
are certain markers to look for, especially a Thickened Nuchal
Patch which is the skin behind the neck.  Down's babies
usually have this "fat patch" on the back of the neck.
Once you have the sonogram results, you will have a better idea
what to do.  I do not recommend the Amnio.  I went to a reputable
center and they ended up killing my baby with NO REMORSE!!
Instead of planning a nursery, we had to plan a Funeral.
I had to deliver my 25 week old baby and had to bury him.
Not something I will ever get over!  Think twice about the
Amnio, hindsight is 20/20 and I wish someone would have told me.
If you live in NY - AVOID GREAT NECK WOMEN'S CENTER!!!MONSTERS!!
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OMG Flyme, I am so sorry. those amnio tests can have terrible outcomes!!! My friend also had a bad experience, ended up giving birth to a 1 lb.baby. He did survive but is 7 today and has many problems.

Blessing, I personally always declined to even get the test due to so many false positives! The way I understand it is that even if they tell you that you are having a D.S. baby, that there is nothing you could do preventatively. Unless, you want the option to terminate. Please don't be worried, it is most likely wrong. Good luck and I will say a prayer for you.

Karen in Atlanta, mother to 3 rugrats!
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I also had the test come back and we were told I would have a baby with a neural tube defect or Downs. I had the amnio done, I was 35yrs old. I had a healthy baby boy who is now almost 7 years old. There are always risks associated with amnio, discuss with your Doctor and research for yourself. This test is false so often I don't know why they doit. I have had many friends go through the same unnecessary worry that you and I and others have to go through. My prayers are with you. I don't normally read this site I am over in another area, but I will be checking back here so please post an update. Sincerly, Janie
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I too had the AFP Screening done and I am 28 years old.  I was devasted that my baby may have downs syndrom (syndrome) but it was in Gods hands now.  My husband and I would accept this precious child either way.  I was stressed during my pregnancy since I refused to take the amnio test.  With the risk  of losing the baby...we decided not to. Even with councelling it didn't help how I felt about the news, I was eventually told that if there is a slightest sign that the baby may have downs...they were to tell us...with legal actions in the past...they said that they were to tell us the news with even a 1% chance that my baby would have downs.
Anyways after the stress and nine months in waiting my baby girl was HEALTHY.  She is nine months now and is the joy of our lives.  Oh ya and the statistics on the AFP screening was based on caucasian babies...I am Filipino.
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My ultrasound showed a spot on the heart at 20wks.  My doctor also said it could be a sign of downs but everything else in the ultrasound was fine.  They are sending me for a level two ultrasound now to get a better look.  I didnt have the 16 wk test.  Amnio scares me too but I'm scared and want to be reassured that my baby is okay.  Does anyone have any info. on the finding of a spot on the heart?
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