Don't Worry Yet

First, don't panic. Realize that a positive result does not necessarily mean that your baby has a neural tube defect or Down's syndrome.

pregnant belly

About 5% of the women screened will have a positive AFP result. Most women with a "screen positive" result will have normal healthy babies. The positive screening result simply indicates that there is an increased risk and further tests are indicated.Your caregiver will discuss your test results with you and will usually recommend an ultrasound and/or an amniocentesis, as well as a second AFP test. Some neural tube defects can be partially corrected in utero using extremely high tech operative procedures. Other problems, however, are too severe to be compatible with life and will ultimately cause miscarriage or stillbirth. Here's what some moms-to-be have said about the test:

I will not terminate no matter what, so I don't see the use. One of my friends say that they wanted to be prepared if they had a baby with defects, but I don't understand what constitutes preparation. I mean, I wouldn't buy a different crib or paint the walls a different color. The fact of knowing my child will have problems will devastate me now or later, so why not opt for later? I will still have the same love and care for him/her no matter what. I would go nuts worrying about a mentally retarded child now until the end of the pregnancy. I would rather save all my sanity for when I really need it -- after my baby is born. - Tasha
I had the test with my first, even though nothing ran in our families and risk factors were really low, and regardless of the fact I knew I would keep my baby regardless. Thank God I did. My daughter had an abdominal wall defect called gastroschisis. I needed special doctors at a different hospital. It completely changed the course of pregnancy. We had it this time, but haven't gotten the results back. We had an ultrasound and everything appeared fine, so I'm not worried, even if it comes back positive. - mandymay
I was really panicked when I got my AFP results. There were two levels that were 'off' with my blood... Nine days after we had the ultrasound done and the amniocentesis done we got news that our "little man" is just as perfect as he should be... all of his chromosomes were exactly as they should be -- no extras... it was a roller coaster of emotions! - Laura

Hang in there. It's not easy, but you will get an answer soon.

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