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Health & Pregnancy

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Biophysical Profile (BPP)

What Affects the Test

Reasons you may not be able to have the test or why the results may not be helpful include:

  • The baby is in a position that makes doing an ultrasound difficult.
  • Being unable to lie still throughout the procedure, which can cause the picture of your baby to be unclear.
  • Being overweight, which may make it hard to correctly position the external monitoring device.
  • An infection in either you or your baby.
  • Low (hypoglycemia) or high (hyperglycemia) blood sugar levels.
  • Taking medicine, such as magnesium sulfate.
  • Steroids given to help the baby's lungs mature.
  • Using alcohol or illegal drugs, such as cocaine.
  • In rare cases, stool (feces) or air in the intestines or rectum interfering with the fetal ultrasound.

What To Think About

  • A biophysical profile includes a nonstress test with electronic fetal heart monitoring and a fetal ultrasound.
  • More tests, such as a contraction stress test, may be recommended if your results are not normal. To learn more, see the topic Contraction Stress Test.
  • If there is a chance that you or your baby may have problems during your pregnancy, you may have a biophysical profile test every week or twice a week during the last 12 weeks of your pregnancy. Your chances of having problems may be higher if you have:
  • A biophysical profile may be done after an injury, such as a car crash or fall. Your doctor may recommend more BPP tests during the rest of your pregnancy.

Other Places To Get Help


American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG)

Related Information

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: September 09, 2014
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.

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