AFP: A Critical Marker for Liver Function and Pregnancy Monitoring


Alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) is a protein produced by the liver and the yolk sac during pregnancy. In adults, serum AFP levels are typically low. However, elevated AFP levels can indicate liver disease or certain types of cancer.

During pregnancy, AFP levels increase throughout the gestation period. Measuring AFP levels in maternal blood is part of routine prenatal screening to assess fetal well-being and detect potential abnormalities.

Associated Diseases

Liver Disease:

  • Chronic hepatitis
  • Liver cirrhosis
  • Liver cancer (hepatocellular carcinoma)

Pregnancy Complications:

  • Neural tube defects (e.g., spina bifida)
  • Down syndrome
  • Multiple pregnancies
  • Preterm birth


  • Yolk sac tumors
  • Gonadal tumors

Did you Know ?

  • The normal AFP range in healthy adults is less than 10 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL).
  • Elevated AFP levels are present in about 80% of patients with primary liver cancer.

Disclaimer: The information provided here is not exhaustive by any means. Always consult your doctor or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition, procedure, or treatment, whether it is a prescription medication, over-the-counter drug, vitamin, supplement, or herbal alternative.