A biophysical profile is a painless, noninvasive assessment done during the end of pregnancy, more typically once you have reached or passed your estimated due date. It is also considered during the third trimester in cases of higher risk pregnancies.
This assessment is done either in your doctor’s office or in the hospital to prevent loss of pregnancy and to determine whether or not the baby is getting enough oxygen. For obvious reasons, this assessment can offer reassurance, but may also increase maternal stress.
A biophysical profile usually includes a non-stress test. A non stress test measures your baby’s movement and heart tones, as well as your uterine contractions.
Once the non-stress test is complete the provider will use ultrasound to assess the following:
Fetal heart rate
- These results determine whether the baby is reactive or nonreactive.
- It is expected that the baby will show signs of rhythmic breathing for 30 seconds or more in a 30-minute time frame. If that is the case, the score will be 2. 0 points will be given if this expectation is not met.
- The expectation is that the baby will move its body at least 3 times in a 30 minute period. If that is the case, the score will be 2. 0 points will be given if this expectation is not met.
- The expectation is that your baby will bend and straighten their arm or leg. If the baby does this, 2 points will be given. If not, 0 points will be given.
Amniotic fluid level
- Typically about 600 mL of amniotic fluid is to be expected at full term. Pockets of fluid are measured to determine the number of points given.
A total score of 8-10 would be considered reassuring. A score of 6 would likely cause your provider to want to repeat the assessment within 24 hours. A score of 4 points or even lower, would likely indicate that delivery is necessary.
As always, ask questions! The more you know, the more prepared you’ll feel! Contact us with any questions. We’d love to support you.