Measurement of maternal AFP levels is a useful tool in the prenatal diagnosis of many fetal disorders, including Down's syndrome, spina bifida, anencephaly and others.
Broadly the findings in AFP levels can be grouped into:
The maternal blood is taken at 16 weeks gestation - an accurate estimation of gestational age is needed in order to allow the proper significance of a result to be assessed. The outcome of the test is to prompt further investigations if positive - i.e. it is not diagnostic.
Last reviewed 01/2018