Non-Stress Test

A Non-stress test is a painless, noninvasive test used to evaluate the well being of the baby in the third trimester. The test can be ordered as early as twenty-eight weeks, and may be done as often as twice a week. Some reasons why Dr. Lescale or a referring may request a Non-stress test are:

  • Pregnancy induced hypertension
  • Diabetes
  • Multiple gestations (twins, triplets, etc)
  • Rh sensitization (possible when mother has Rh negative and father is Rh positive)
  • Unexplained elevated maternal serum alpha-fetoprotein (MSAFP) level
  • Previous stillbirth
  • History of premature labor
  • Postdates (more than 41 weeks long)
  • Intra-uterine growth restriction, IUGR (baby is growing slower than expected)
  • Decreased fetal movement
  • Too much or too little amniotic fluid
  • Some cases following amniocentesis

The Non-stress test monitors the baby’s heartbeat and the mother’s uterine contraction. The test is conducted while the mother is lying in chair and two elastic belts are wrapped around her belly. One belt measures the baby’s heart rate and the other records any uterine contractions.

The baby’s heart rate should increase as he moves. During the test if the baby’s heart rate increases with the baby’s movement twice in a ten-minute interval then the test is considered “reactive”. A “reactive” result means the baby is receiving adequate oxygen at the time of the test. However, if the test is “non reactive” test may indicate the baby is not getting enough oxygen or there are problems with the placenta. The physician will generally order more tests. It is important to remember that a “non-reactive” test does not mean something is wrong just that more investigation is necessary.

 

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© 2018 Keith Lescale, M.D., F.A.C.O.G.