Breaking Down the Double Marker Test: What to Expect

Pregnant women opt for double marker tests in pregnancy or quadruple marker tests to learn about the unusual growth of the foetus. These two tests take place in separate phases of your pregnancy. While a double marker test is done during the first trimester, a quadruple marker test is done in the second trimester. Before undergoing these tests, healthcare professionals take several factors into their consideration:

Family medical history of congenital disabilities

Age of the pregnant woman

Gestational age of the baby


Doctors perform these tests to rule out different possibilities that are related to birth disorders in the foetus. One can decide to undergo this test along with several other prenatal tests. In this article, you can learn about each one of them in detail. Let’s start without any further delay now.

What Is a Double Marker Test?

A double marker test is done to learn about the chromosomal malformation in the foetus. Pregnant women choose this test to detect a wide range of neurological conditions such as Edward’s syndrome and Down syndrome. Chromosomal abnormalities can pave the way toward serious developmental deformities along with several health concerns.

Women above 35 years of age are suitable for this double marker test. Also, if a pregnant woman has a history of insulin-type diabetes and a family history of birth defects, they can opt for these tests to gain knowledge about the present condition.

Double marker test helps to detect trisomy 21.T that can expose an individual to heart disorders and mental disorders. These kinds of tests are typically performed with a blood sample and ultra-sound test. Two tests are involved in this process- PAPP, or pregnancy-associated plasma protein A, and hCG, or human chorionic gonadotropin. The normal value of hCG is 25700-288000 mIU/ml. On the other hand, the normal value for PAPP is 1 multiple of the median.

When Should You Undergo this Double Marker Test?

One can undergo this double marker test for pregnancy during the first trimester. It tends to prevent different kinds of complexities and complications that can take place after giving birth to the baby. The overall procedure takes 11 to 14 weeks from the gestation age. Those who are dealing with high risks of chromosomal concerns must choose this test as a preventive method.

What Should You Expect When the Test Is Done?

The double marker test is quite simple. It generally begins with an ultrasound, also referred to as NT or nuchal translucency. It consists of two markers, namely:

The human chorionic gonadotropin: High levels of hCG means that the foetus might get exposed to trisomy, thus dealing with Down syndrome.

The pregnancy-associated plasma protein-A: This marker indicates that the foetus inside your body is prone to Down syndrome.

What Is the Difference Between Double Marker Test and NT Scan?

Check out the difference at a quick glance:


Double Marker Test

NT Scan

Prenatal Down syndrome detection

60% of cases

70% of cases

How is it done?


Blood test

Why is it done?

Determining birth defects by measuring the nuchal translucency value

Determining chromosomal abnormalities

What Is a Quadruple Marker Test?

As stated earlier, the Quadruple marker test is similar to a blood test that takes place in the second trimester. Here, the screening is typically focused on four (quad) factors:


Produced From

Quad Marker Results

Alpha-fetoprotein (AFP)

Normal levels: 10-150 ng/mL (15-18 weeks)

Liver of the baby

High levels: Risks of neural tube defects in your baby

Low levels: Down syndrome

Possibility of multiple pregnancies

Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG)

Normal levels: 13,300–254,000 mIU/mL (13–16 weeks) to 4,060–165,400 mIU/mL (17–24 weeks)


High levels: Down syndrome possibilities

Unconjugated estriol (UE)

Normal levels: ≤2.50 ng/mL (first trimester) and ≤9.60 ng/mL (second trimester)

Placenta and the baby

Low levels: Possibilities of Down syndrome


Normal levels: 180 pg per millilitre (15 weeks)

Ovaries and placenta

High levels: Down syndrome

Why Is This Test Done?

This quad marker screening estimates and analyses four specific conditions:

Down syndrome

Spina bifida

Trisomy 18

Abdominal wall defects

How Is This Test Done?

The quad marker screening is nothing but a blood test. The technician takes blood samples from the veins of the patient and sends them to the lab for testing. This overall process is extremely safe; it won’t pose any kind of threat either to the mother or the baby. Also, you no longer need to prepare for the test from a prior stage.

Key Takeaways

This is all about the double marker test in pregnancy and quadruple marker test. Do you want to take a step toward opting for these pregnancy tests? If yes, all you need to do is get in touch with BLK Max Hospital, and that’s it. The well-trained healthcare professionals will ensure to take the load off your shoulder.

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