Serum alpha-fetoprotein and neural tube defects in the first trimester of pregnancy
Article first published online: 21 NOV 2005
Copyright © 1993 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Volume 13, Issue 11, pages 1047–1050, November 1993
How to Cite
Wald, N. J., Hackshaw, A. and Stone, R. (1993), Serum alpha-fetoprotein and neural tube defects in the first trimester of pregnancy. Prenat. Diagn., 13: 1047–1050. doi: 10.1002/pd.1970131108
- Issue published online: 21 NOV 2005
- Article first published online: 21 NOV 2005
- Manuscript Accepted: 8 MAY 1993
- Manuscript Received: 8 DEC 1992
- Manuscript Revised: 16 APR 1992
- Maternal serum alpha-fetoprotein;
- First-trimester screening;
- Neural tube defects
As part of the Medical Research Council randomized trial of vitamin supplementation in the prevention of neural tube defects (NTDs), maternal serum alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) was available for 19 NTD pregnancies. Each of these was matched with four unaffected controls, by maternal age, participating centre, and duration of sample storage. The samples came from women whose gestational age ranged from 6 to 14 completed weeks. The median AFP level in the affected pregnancies was 1·2 multiples of the median value in unaffected pregnancies of the same gestational age (95 per cent confidence interval (CI) 0·83–1·59). This confirmed the view that serum AFP measurement is of no practical value in the detection of NTDs in the first trimester of pregnancy. The study also showed that folic acid supplementation, used as a method of preventing NTDs, had no effect on the concentrations of maternal serum AFP up to 14 weeks of pregnancy.