Once you become pregnant, one of your biggest worries is whether your baby will be healthy and how you can be assured of the same. One of the most common tests that are conducted to ensure the well being of the fetus growing within you is the Bio Physical Profile Test. Normally conducted towards the final trimester of a pregnancy; this painless procedure is an excellent means of discovering the well being of the fetus within you.
bio physical test

What Is A Bio Physical Profile Test?

This is a test that assesses the health of the fetus during your pregnancy. This test normally includes an ultra sound of the fetus along with monitoring of the fetal heart beat electronically. This test can measure the:

  • Heart rate of the fetus
  • Breathing
  • Quantity of amniotic fluid surrounding the baby
  • Muscle tone
  • Movements
  • To ensure there is required quantity of oxygen inside your womb
When Is The Bio Physical Test Conducted?

The best time to do this test is anywhere between thirty eight and forty two weeks. It can also be conducted as early as the starting of the third trimester.

Why Is Bio Physical Test Recommended?

Bio physical profile test is normally done in order to:

  1. Follow and keep a track of the fetal well being and to ensure that all the above mentioned parameters are within normal limits
  2. Keep a check on your fetus if you happen to have a “high risk pregnancy” or a history of
What Preparation Is Required For The Test?

Not much preparation is required before the test is normally conducted. Like most other pregnancy tests, one requires to have a bladder that is full before the test. However, if you happen to be in the final trimester of the pregnancy, a full bladder is also not required. Sometimes they ask you to eat a good meal just before the test is conducted so that the fetus inside you gets stimulated to move around a little more than usual.

How Is The Test Done?

For the test, you are made to lie down on the examination table. They check your blood pressure levels before the test begins. A belt is positioned across the stomach and it comprises of a sensor that assesses the heart rate of the fetus. This test normally takes around twenty minutes overall. However if the fetus is asleep, you may require waiting for the little one to wake up to get proper results. They spread a gel on the tummy and a tiny monitor is rotated all over the abdomen several times. After the test the gel will be wiped clean and the scores will be revealed.
biophysical test results

What Do The Results Of The Test Reveal?

Every component or parameter that includes breathing, muscle tone, heartbeat, amniotic fluid and body movements are all assigned a score anywhere between 0 (abnormal) and 2 (normal) They are all added up to get the total score out of 10.

  • A score anywhere between 8 and 10 is considered safe and perfectly normal
  • Somewhere around six is supposed to be border line
  • Scores below six shows there is something wrong that requires immediate attention
  • Scores below 4 indicates you need extra tests or that an emergency delivery requires to be performed at once

Suppose the ultra sound show no cause for worry, the doctor may not advise a non stress test. But if the scores of amniotic fluid results to a zero, more testing is immediately required and even immediate delivery may be recommended although all other scores are normal.

Risks Associated With Bio Physical Profile Test

A bio physical profile test normally is considered to be quite safe in every sense of the word. There are very rare chances of any kind of risk either to the fetus or the mom with this test. Lengthy periods of ultra sound are the only cause for concern. However abnormal scores tend to make you worried and anxious. And there is every chance that an existing abnormality may go undetected in this test. There have also been cases where this test revealed a problem when actually everything was perfectly normal.

What Affects The Test Results?

There are some resons that may affect the test result or make it difficult to conduct the test itself. Some of them include:

  • Position of the baby makes it difficult to do the ultrasound
  • It the pregnant woman is unable to lie still throughout the procedure as it requires lying on the baby, then this can lead to the ultrasound picture of the baby being unclear
  • If the mother to be is overweight, then it makes it difficult to correctly position the external monitoring device
  • If either the mother to be or the baby has any kind of infection
  • High or low blood sugar levels
  • On a medication like magnesium sulfate
  • Steroids being administered to the fetus to help the lungs to mature
  • If the pregnant woman is consuming alcohol or any illegal drugs
  • Very rarely the stool or air in the rectum or intestine may interfere with the fetal ultrasound

Thus a bio physical profile is a very common test that is normally done to ensure the fetal well being towards the final stage of pregnancy and on the whole is perfectly safe to perform so that you get to know about how healthy and fine your pregnancy is.
Did you get a bio physical test done during your pregnancy? Please do share your experiences in the comments section below.