Prenatal Test – Biophysical profile

The Biophysical profile is typically given during the third trimester as you get close to your due date.  This test is given if you have a high risk pregnancy, if an ultrasound shows problems, or if your doctor or midwife suspects your baby is not thriving or receiving enough oxygen.  It also may be given as an alternative to the contraction stress test if it has been deemed too risky.  The Biophysical profile may be repeated once or twice a week near the end of your pregnancy in high risk situations. 

You may be asked to eat before your test (this can increase the amount the baby moves around) and empty your bladder so that you won’t be uncomfortable. For the Non Stress test portion of the exam you’ll lie resting and a belt with ultrasound transducers will be strapped around your abdomen.  With some tests you may be asked to push a button when you feel the baby move.  The baby’s heart rate will be measured in response to it’s own movement (the heart rate normally speeds up when the baby moves).  You will also have a very detailed ultrasound that observes your baby’s movements.  This is a completely non-invasive test that is painless for both you and your baby.

This test includes five different sections:

Non Stress Test

Measuring baby’s body movements

Measuring baby’s breathing movements

Measuring baby’s muscle tone

Measuring the amount of amniotic fluid in the sac around the baby

Each of these components are assigned two points, resulting in a score of 0 to 10.  Scores of 8-10 are considered normal, 6 is considered borderline.  Below a 6 is considered problematic.  Your doctor or midwife will help you evaluate the results of this test.

Prenatal Test – Biophysical Profile