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Doctor checking the patient

During your pregnancy, you’ll have multiple exams and medical tests to check on your baby’s health and development. Some expecting mothers will have a fetal biophysical profile. It’s a combined fetal ultrasound and fetal heart rate monitoring test. It allows the obstetrician to evaluate your baby’s amniotic fluid level, muscle tone, breathing, movement, and heart rate. This test is noninvasive and perfectly safe for you and your baby.

Indications for Fetal Biophysical Profiles

Usually, obstetricians recommend this test when there is an increased risk of pregnancy loss. It’s typically performed after 32 weeks. It could be performed earlier, as long as the baby is sufficiently developed to be viable outside the womb if delivery is necessary. The decision to have a fetal biophysical profile is one that you’ll have to make with your doctor’s guidance. In general, it’s recommended when any of the following risk factors are present:

  • History of pregnancy loss
  • History of pregnancy complications
  • Possible fetal growth problems
  • Decreased fetal movements
  • Multiple pregnancies with complications
  • Preterm rupture of the membranes
  • Too much or too little amniotic fluid
  • Rh sensitization
Results of Biophysical Profiles

Your obstetrician will explain the results of the test. Each area is given a score of zero or two points. For example, three instances of fetal movement within 30 minutes will receive two points. Anything less than this will be given zero points. The points from all of the evacuated areas are added together for a total score. A score of eight to 10 is ideal. A score of six warrants another fetal biophysical profile within 24 hours. You might also repeat the test once or twice weekly. If a subsequent biophysical has a score of six or lower, your obstetrician might recommend additional testing or early or immediate delivery.

You’ll find complete prenatal care services at Women’s Healthcare Associates, including biophysical profiles. Our highly trained obstetricians in Houston are committed to helping each of our patients have a healthy pregnancy. Call 713-654-8128 to schedule a consult if you’re planning to become pregnant or think you might be.

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