A biophysical profile (BPP) test measures the health of your baby
(fetus) during pregnancy. A BPP test may include a
nonstress test with
electronic fetal heart monitoring and a
fetal ultrasound. The BPP measures your baby's heart
rate, muscle tone, movement, breathing, and the amount of
amniotic fluid around your baby.
A BPP is
commonly done in the last
trimester of pregnancy. If there is a chance that your
baby may have problems during your pregnancy (high-risk pregnancy), a BPP may be done by 32 to 34 weeks or earlier. Some women
with high-risk pregnancies may have a BPP test every week or twice a week in
the third trimester.
Why It Is Done
A biophysical profile (BPP) test is done
- Learn about and keep track of your baby's
health. Special ultrasound methods are used to keep track of movement,
increases in heart rate with movement (nonstress test), muscle tone, breathing
rate, and the amount of amniotic fluid (amniotic fluid index) surrounding your baby. If these five areas are within a normal
range, your baby is considered to be in good health.
- Check on your
baby's health if you have:
How To Prepare
You may need a full
bladder for the test. If so, you will be
asked to drink water or other liquids just before the test and to avoid
urinating before or during the test. Usually women in the third trimester do not need to have a full bladder.
If you smoke, you will be
asked to stop smoking for 2 hours before the external monitoring test because
smoking decreases your baby's activity.
Talk to your doctor about any concerns you have regarding the need for the test, its
risks, how it will be done, or what the results may mean. To help you
understand the importance of this test, fill out the
medical test information form(What is a PDF document?).
How It Is Done
Most often, a biophysical profile (BPP)
is performed by your
obstetrician. But it may be done by an ultrasound
radiologist. A BPP can be done in your doctor's
office, hospital, or clinic.
nonstress test with electronic fetal heart monitoring
and a fetal ultrasound are done as part of a biophysical profile. See a picture
of fetal ultrasound and
external monitoring .
Some doctors may use a modified biophysical
profile, which combines a nonstress test and measurements of the amniotic fluid
(amniotic fluid index).