Alpha-Fetoprotein (AFP) in Blood
How It Feels
The blood sample is taken from a vein in
your arm. An elastic band is wrapped around your upper arm. It may feel tight.
You may feel nothing at all from the needle, or you may feel a quick sting or
You may feel anxious while awaiting results of an
alpha-fetoprotein test done to determine the health of your unborn baby.
There is very little chance of a problem from
having blood sample taken from a vein.
- You may get a small bruise at the site. You can lower the chance
of bruising by keeping pressure on the site for several minutes.
rare cases, the vein may become swollen after the blood sample is taken. This
problem is called phlebitis. A warm compress can be used several times a day to
- Ongoing bleeding can be a problem for people with
bleeding disorders. Aspirin, warfarin (Coumadin), and other blood-thinning
medicines can make bleeding more likely. If you have bleeding or clotting
problems, or if you take blood-thinning medicine, tell your doctor before your
blood sample is taken.
An alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) blood test
checks the level of AFP in a pregnant woman's blood. AFP is a substance made in
the liver of a developing baby (fetus). The amount of AFP in the blood
of a pregnant woman can help find certain problems with her baby.
The normal values listed here—called a reference range—are just a guide. These ranges vary from lab to lab, and your lab may have a different range for what's normal. Your lab report should contain the range your lab uses. Also, normal values vary with the age of the baby. A high or low AFP may mean
that the age of the baby has been recorded wrong or not calculated correctly.
ultrasound may be done to check the baby's age more