Skip to content

Health & Pregnancy

Font Size
A
A
A

Biophysical Profile (BPP)

How It Feels

Lying on your back (or side) during the test may be uncomfortable. During a fetal ultrasound, you may have a feeling of pressure in your bladder. The gel may feel cool when it is first applied to your stomach. You will feel a light pressure from the transducer as it passes over your abdomen.

Risks

There is very little chance of either the mother or the baby having a problem from a biophysical profile (BPP). But you may feel anxious if the ultrasound reveals a problem with your pregnancy or baby. A nonstress test may falsely show distress in a baby that is actually healthy.

Results

A biophysical profile (BPP) test measures the health of your baby (fetus) during pregnancy. The results are scores on five measurements in a 30-minute observation period.

A score of 8 to 10 points means that your baby is healthy. A score of 6 to 8 points means that you may need to be retested in 12 to 24 hours. A score of 4 or less may mean the baby is having problems. Further testing will be recommended.

Biophysical profile 1
Measurement Normal (2 points) Abnormal (0 points)
Nonstress test

2 or more heart rate increases of at least 15 beats per minute. Each increase lasts 15 seconds or more and is seen with movement.

Only 1 heart rate increase is seen, or the heart rate does not increase by more than 15 beats with movement.

Breathing movement

1 or more breathing movements last at least 60 seconds.

Breathing movement lasts less than 60 seconds, or no breathing is seen.

Body movement

3 or more movements of the arms, legs, or body

Less than 3 movements of the arms, legs, or body

Muscle tone

Arms and legs are usually flexed and the head rests on the chest. 1 or more extensions and return to flexion are seen, such as the opening and closing of a hand.

The fetus extends slowly and only returns partway to a normal position.

The fetus extends but does not return to a normal position.

The arms, legs, or spine are extended, or a hand is open.

Amniotic fluid volume (amniotic fluid index)
  • One or more pockets of amniotic fluid are seen in the uterus, each at least 1 cm (0.4 in.) wide and long.
  • The amniotic fluid index is between 5 cm (2 in.) and 24 cm (9.4 in.).2

Not enough amniotic fluid is seen in the uterus.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: June 18, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

Pregnancy Week-By-Week Newsletter

Delivered right to your inbox, get pictures and facts on
what to expect each week of your pregnancy.

Today on WebMD

hand circling date on calendar
Track your most fertile days.
woman looking at ultrasound
Week-by-week pregnancy guide.
 
Pretty pregnant woman timing contaction pains
The signs to watch out for.
pregnant woman in hospital
Are there ways to do it naturally?
 
slideshow fetal development
Slideshow
pregnancy first trimester warning signs
Article
 
What Causes Bipolar
Video
Woman trying on dress in store
Slideshow
 
pregnant woman
Article
Close up on eyes of baby breastfeeding
Video
 
healthtool pregnancy calendar
Tool
eddleman prepare your body pregnancy
Video