A fetal biophysical profile is a prenatal test used to check on a baby's well-being. The test combines fetal heart rate monitoring (nonstress test) and fetal ultrasound. During a biophysical profile, a baby's heart rate, breathing, movements, muscle tone and amniotic fluid level are evaluated and given a score.
Typically, a biophysical profile is recommended for women at risk of pregnancy loss. The test is usually done after week 32 of pregnancy, but can be done when your pregnancy is far enough along for delivery to be considered — usually after week 24. A low score on a biophysical profile might indicate that you and your baby need further monitoring or special care. In some cases, early or immediate delivery might be recommended.
A biophysical profile is a noninvasive test that doesn't pose any physical risks to you or your baby. However, it's not always clear that a biophysical profile can help promote a baby's health. Find out what a biophysical profile involves and whether this prenatal test might benefit you or your baby.
March 05, 2015
- Manning FA. The fetal biophysical profile. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Jan. 29, 2015.
- Signore C, et al. Overview of antepartum fetal surveillance. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Jan. 29, 2015.
- Frequently asked questions. Pregnancy FAQ098. Special tests for monitoring fetal health. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. http://www.acog.org/Patients/FAQs/Special-Tests-for-Monitoring-Fetal-Health. Accessed Jan. 29, 2015.
- Gabbe SG, et al. Antepartum fetal evaluation. In: Obstetrics: Normal and problem pregnancies. 6th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2012. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Jan. 29, 2015.
- Cunningham FG, et al. Fetal assessment. In: Williams Obstetrics. 24th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2014. http://accessmedicine.com. Accessed Nov. 15, 2011.
- Young BK. Nonstress test and contraction stress test. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Jan. 29, 2015.
- Taking a close look at ultrasound. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. http://www.fda.gov/downloads/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/UCM095487.pdf. Accessed
- Lalor JG, et al. Biophysical profile for fetal assessment in high risk pregnancies. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD000038.pub2/abstract. Accessed Jan. 29, 2015.
- American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) Committee on Practice Bulletins — Obstetrics. ACOG Practice Bulletin No. 146: Management of late-term and postterm pregnancies. Obstetrics & Gynecology. 2014;124:390.
- Oyelese Y, et al. The uses and limitations of the fetal biophysical profile. Clinics in Perinatology. 2011;38:47.