Understanding the Biophysical / Profile



Why are you having a Biophysical / Profile?

Mothers and babies who need special medical care and extra attention will need a biophysical profile. This test is to check for the well-being of your baby. Some common reasons for a biophysical profile:

- any maternal medical problems such as diabetes or high blood pressure
- small baby or baby not growing properly
- past your due date
- too much or too little fluid around the baby
- decreased fetal movement

What is a biophysical profile?

A biophysical profile is a simple sonogram allows us to look at your baby's movement, amniotic fluid, listen to the baby's heart beat and to see if your baby is "practicing breathing

When will the test be done?

Biophysical Profiles are usually performed at 32 weeks. How often depends on results or maternal conditions.

Why Are You Having A Non-Stress Test (NST)?

Mothers and babies who need special medical care and extra attention will need an NST. The test is to check for the well-being of your baby. Some common reasons for an NST are:

- diabetes
- high Blood Pressure
- small baby or baby not growing properly
- less active baby after an amniocentesis
- past your due date

What is an NST?

An NST is a simple, painless procedure. We will be "listening" to and "seeing" your baby's heartbeat. We will do this by "fetal monitoring". Monitoring is a way of observing your unborn baby. We will listen to and see the baby's heartbeat while the baby is resting and while the baby is moving. It usually takes 20-40 minutes to do an NST.

How is the test done?

We would like you to eat before the test because some babies move more after their moms have eaten. You will be more comfortable if you empty your bladder before the NST. We will ask you to lie on your left side for the test. The two fetal monitor pieces will be placed on your abdomen and held in place by elastic belts. One piece is to record the baby's heartbeat and movement. The other device is to record any tightening or contractions of your uterus.

We will be looking at the baby's movement and heart rate. Just as your heart beats faster when you run up a flight of stairs, your baby's heart should beat faster when kicking and moving.

The NST is REACTIVE if the heart beats faster when the baby moves. This must happen at least two times in 20 minutes. If your baby is quiet and not moving, the nurse may give you juice or water to drink.

The NST is NONREACTIVE if the heart does not beat faster when the baby moves or if the baby is quiet and not moving. THIS DOES NOT MEAN THAT SOMETHING IS WRONG!! It simply means the NST has not given us enough information. Additional tests may be needed such as a biophysical profile or contraction stress test.

When will the test be done?

NST's are usually performed once or twice a week. You will be given an appointment for your next NST. We will try to schedule your test for the same day as your doctor's visit.