Biophysical Profile (BPP) With Twins

Who Gets the Test?

A BPP is a common test for women pregnant with twins. It's especially important if you have any health problems, such as diabetes or preeclampsia. You may also need a BPP after a fall or other accident to make sure your babies are healthy.

What the Test Does

The BPP is a combination of tests that check your babies' health. It measures your babies' body movements and muscle tone. It also measures how fast your babies' heart rates accelerate during movement, and the amount of amniotic fluid protecting your babies in the womb.

How the Test Is Done

The BPP is safe and non-invasive. It lasts about 30 minutes for each baby.

Part of the biophysical profile is an ultrasound. This tracks your babies' movements and tests the amount of amniotic fluid. You'll lie on your back and a technician will hold the ultrasound wand against your belly. Another part of the BPP is a nonstress test that monitors your babies' heartbeats for 20 minutes. The doctor will put an elastic band with two sensors around your belly to pick up your babies' heartbeats. Some doctors only do the sensor part of the BPP based on what the ultrasound shows. If the doctor needs more information about the babies, the nonstress test part of the BPP may be added on.

What to Know About Test Results

The results of each part of the test -- heart rate, breathing, body movement, muscle tone, and amount of amniotic fluid -- are added up to form a total score. A score of eight to 10 means that your babies seem healthy. Scores lower than eight usually mean that you need retesting. A very low score could indicate that your babies are in distress. Your doctor could recommend early delivery.

How Often the Test Is Done During Your Pregnancy

If your doctor decides you need one, you would probably get a BPP in the last trimester. Some women get them earlier. Your doctor may suggest follow-up BPPs for the rest of your pregnancy.

Tests Similar to This One

Nonstress Test, Amniotic Fluid Index (AFI), deep pocket measurements, ultrasound, amniotic fluid volume assessment

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Traci C. Johnson, MD, FACOG on August 08, 2014

Sources

SOURCES:

UptoDate: "The Biophysical Fetal Profile."

Johns Hopkins Manual of Gynecology and Obstetrics, 4th Edition. Lippincott Williams & Williams, 2010.

James D. Goldberg MD, medical director, San Francisco Perinatal Associates, San Francisco.

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