Biophysical Profile

What is Biophysical Profile

Biophysical profile is a non-invasive test that may be done during pregnancy to check that your developing baby (fetus) and your placenta are healthy. Your health care provider may recommend a biophysical profile if your pregnancy is at a higher risk for certain problems.

A biophysical profile is usually done during the last 3 months of pregnancy (third trimester).

A biophysical profile combines two tests to check the health of your baby. In one test, you will have a device strapped to your belly to measure your baby’s heart rate. The other test involves using sound waves and a computer (ultrasound) to create an image of your baby inside your womb (uterus). Together, these tests tell your health care provider about the overall health of your baby.

Tell a health care provider about:

  • Any allergies you have.
  • All medicines you are taking, including vitamins, herbs, eye drops, creams, and over-the-counter medicines.
  • Any medical conditions you have.
  • Any concerns you have about your pregnancy.
  • Any symptoms such as abdominal pain or contractions, nausea or vomiting, vaginal bleeding, leaking of amniotic fluid, decreased fetal movements, fever or infection, increased swelling, headaches, or visual disturbances.
  • How often you feel your baby move.

What are the risks?

There are no risks to you or your baby from a biophysical profile.

What happens before the procedure?

Ask your health care provider how to prepare.

  • You may need to drink fluids so that you have a full bladder for your ultrasound.
  • You may also need to eat before you arrive for the test. That makes your baby more active.

What happens during the procedure?

  • You will lie on your back on an exam table.
  • Your blood pressure may be monitored during the procedure.
  • A belt will be placed around your belly. The belt has a sensor to measure your baby’s heart rate.
  • You may have to wear another belt and sensor to measure any muscle movements (contractions) in your uterus. During the ultrasound, a health care provider or technician will gently roll a handheld device (transducer) over your belly. This device sends signals to a computer that creates images of your baby.
  • Five areas of your baby’s health and development will be checked during the biophysical profile:
    • Heart rate.
    • Breathing.
    • Movement.
    • Active muscle movement (muscle tone).
    • The amount of fluid in your uterus (amniotic fluid).

The procedure may vary among health care providers and hospitals.

What happens after the procedure?

  • Your health care provider will discuss your results with you. The results of a biophysical profile are scored in a range of 0 to 10. Each area that is evaluated is given a score of 0 or 2 points. If you get a score of 6 or less, you may need further testing, or your baby may need to be delivered early. A score of 8 to 10 with normal amniotic fluid levels is considered normal.
  • Unless you need additional testing, you can go home right after the procedure and resume your normal activities.

Summary

  • A biophysical profile is a non-invasive test that may be done during pregnancy to check that your developing baby (fetus) and your placenta are healthy.
  • A biophysical profile combines two tests: A test to measure your baby’s heart rate and an ultrasound test to create an image of your baby in the womb.
  • Tell your health care provider about any concerns you have about your pregnancy or any pregnancy-related symptoms.
  • If you get a score of 6 or less, you may need further testing, or your baby may need to be delivered early. A score of 8 to 10 with normal amniotic fluid levels is considered normal.
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