Alpha-Fetoprotein (AFP) in Blood
What To Think About
- AFP is a screening test to look for possible problems in your developing baby. Other tests will likely be done if the AFP results are abnormal. An ultrasound will likely be done if the AFP is abnormal. If an ultrasound cannot find the cause of the abnormal AFP, an amniocentesis may be recommended.
- A normal AFP result does not guarantee a normal pregnancy or healthy baby.
- The amount of AFP in the amniotic fluid may also be measured using amniocentesis. Most women have normal AFP levels in the amniotic fluid, even though the levels may be abnormal in their blood. These women are at low risk of having a fetus with a neural tube defect.
- If abnormal levels of AFP are found, talk with your doctor or a Reference genetic counselor Opens New Window. AFP test results can be abnormal, even when nothing is wrong with the baby.
- In people with liver cancer or other types of cancer, a decrease in AFP may mean treatment is working.
- The level of AFP in the blood is often used in a maternal serum triple or quadruple screening test. To learn more, see the topic Reference Triple or Quad Screening for Birth Defects.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference April 4, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Reference Siobhan M. Dolan, MD, MPH - Reproductive Genetics