What you can expect

By Mayo Clinic Staff

A nonstress test is usually done in your health care provider's office.

During the procedure

During the nonstress test, you'll lie on a reclining bed. 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 with monitors attached to them across your abdomen. One belt will record your baby's heart rate, and the other will record any uterine contractions you might have. 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, a nonstress test lasts 20 minutes. However, if your baby is asleep, you might need to extend the test for another 20 minutes — with the expectation that your baby will awaken — 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.

After the procedure

After the nonstress test is complete, your health care provider will likely discuss the results with you right away.

Feb. 27, 2013