What you can expect

By Mayo Clinic Staff

A biophysical profile can be done in your health care provider's office or in a hospital. The test might take up to an hour to complete.

During the test

During the nonstress test, you'll lie on an exam table. You'll likely have your blood pressure taken before the test and at regular intervals during the test. Your health care provider or a member of your health care team will then place two belts across your abdomen. One belt will have sensors to measure your baby's heart rate, and the other will have sensors to detect uterine contractions. You'll likely be asked to press a button when your baby moves. Your baby's movements will then be noted on the fetal heart record. Your health care provider will be looking to see if your baby's heart beats faster when he or she moves. Typically, the test lasts 20 minutes. However, if your baby is asleep, you might need to wait until he or she awakens to ensure accurate results. In some cases, your health care provider might try to awaken the baby by making a loud noise or asking you to drink a glass of juice.

During the ultrasound exam, you'll also lie on an exam table. Your health care provider or an ultrasound technician will apply a small amount of gel to your abdomen. Then he or she will rub a small device called a transducer over your skin, moving from one part of your abdomen to another as necessary. The transducer will emit pulses of sound waves that will be translated into a pattern of light and dark areas — creating an image of your baby on a monitor. Your health care provider or the ultrasound technician will then evaluate your baby's breathing movements, body movements, muscle tone and amniotic fluid level. The ultrasound might last 5 to 30 minutes or so, depending on whether your baby is awake or there's a wait time until your baby awakens.

After the test

When the biophysical profile is complete, your health care provider will likely discuss the results with you right away.

Feb. 22, 2012