Affiliated Physicians: Maternal Fetal Medicine
What is Alpha-Fetoprotein?
Alpha-fetoprotein A protein normally produced by a fetus. AFP levels are usually undetectable in the blood of healthy adult men or women (who are not pregnant). An elevated level of AFP suggests the presence of either a primary liver cancer or germ cell tumor. Also called AFP.
As soon as a woman discovers she is pregnant, she should establish a schedule of prenatal care with her health care provider for the entire duration of the pregnancy. For normal pregnancies without significant complications, prenatal exams are usually scheduled as follows:
This schedule may vary depending on your personal medical condition and your health care provider's preference. Additional prenatal care may be necessary if there are any preexisting medical conditions (i.e., diabetes) present in the mother and/or if complications arise while carrying the baby to term.
The vast majority of women have healthy pregnancies and their babies are born without difficulties. However, women with high-risk pregnancies often need a close watch for potential problems or complications. Fortunately, there are many tests and procedures to monitor the health of both mother and baby. Many of these pose little or no risk and can provide tremendous amounts of information to doctors, midwives, and expectant parents. Some types of testing and procedures, however, do carry some risks to mother, baby, or both.