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Biophysical Profile & Non-Stress Test
A biophysical profile is an ultrasound evaluation of the fetus. There are five components to a biophysical profile:
- fetal movement;
- fetal tone;
- fetal breathing;
- amniotic fluid volume; and,
- fetal heart rate.
The profile also includes separate ultrasound assessments and a non-stress test. Each of the five components are rated between a 0 and a 2, and then totaled. The goal is for a biophysical profile of 8 and above, which indicates the lack of a central nervous system disorder and that the baby is all around healthy. A score of 4 or below could mean that the baby is having problems. The test is normally done during the last trimester of the pregnancy and can be performed more than once in women with a history of high-risk pregnancies.
A non-stress test is noninvasive and can be done with an external fetal heart monitor that is placed on the pregnant belly. There are two sensors – one captures sound waves (the heart rate) and the other captures the contractions. Non-stress test are done routinely during pregnancy and may also be done if a woman is past her due date or is at a high-risk for pregnancy complications. A non-stress test monitors the baby’s heart rate for 20 or 30 minutes and can be used after the 28th week of pregnancy to determine if the baby’s heart rate is reactive.
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