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Pregnancy Week by Week

Get a window on what’s happening in your pregnancy, week by week. From week four to week 42, your baby is experiencing a miraculous transformation from a clump of cells to a fully formed (and totally cute) newborn. Just imagine, as early as five weeks, your baby is already starting to form major organs (heart, stomach, liver, and kidneys) and systems (digestive, circulatory, nervous). By eight weeks, your raspberry-sized womb-mate is moving her arms and legs. At the beginning of your second trimester (week 14), your wee one is sucking his thumb. By week 28, the first week of the third trimester, baby (now as big as an eggplant) is prepping for breathing, developing his eyesight and packing on pounds in anticipation of life outside the womb. Each week is a new miracle. Less miraculous is how a mom-to-be may feel. Pregnancy Week-by-Week charts your baby’s development but also lets mom know what she might be feeling during each week of her pregnancy. Pregnancy week by Week includes everything mom needs to know to feel a sense of control over her pregnancy. Each week offers a complete guide to what you might feel, your must-do’s, your nice-to do’s, and answers and advice on everything pregnancy-related. Plus each week’s guide offers tips on maintaining a healthy and comfortable pregnancy from strategies on coping with pregnancy symptoms (morning sickness anyone?) to ideas for healthy eating, and pointers on talking to your OB. Let us guide you along your pregnancy, week by week.

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you asked...

Q&A: What's a multiple marker screening?

What's the multiple marker screening, and when is it performed?

Re: What's the multiple marker screening, and when is it performed?

The Bump Expert

The multiple marker screening (or triple screen or quad screen) is a simple blood test done between 15 and 20 weeks to detect the level of different substances in your blood: estriol, Human chorionic gonadotropin(hCG), Alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) and, if you're having a quad screen, Inhibin-A.Estriol is a hormone manufactured in combination by you, your placenta, and baby, while hCG and Inhibin-A are hormones made solely by the placenta. AFP is a substance made by your baby, and passes in a small amount from the placenta to your blood. Together, levels of these substances show baby's risk (or lack of) certain birth defects. (The only difference between the triple and quad screen is that the quad screen is more likely to identify whether a pregnancy is at risk for Down syndrome, and is less likely to give a false positive.) Abnormal results don't necessarily mean there's a problem, though -- it's simply a signal that further testing -- probably CVS or amniocentesis -- is a good idea.

Make sure not to procrastinate! This test can only be accurately performed between 15 and 20 weeks of pregnancy, and all it requires is a blood drawing. The triple screen can also detect whether your pregnancy is further along than previously thought. And, if you’re beginning to suspect you might be eating for more than just two, this test will be able to tell you just how many buns you have in that oven!

American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists. Your pregnancy and birth. 4th ed. Washington, DC: ACOG; 2005.

Paula Kashtan

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