Among the prenatal tests your incoming babies will go through is the non-stress test–a painless examination done to ensure that yet-to-be-born babies are healthy before birth.
What happens during a non-stress test?
During a non-stress test, the medical practitioner will monitor your baby’s heartbeats in two different conditions: when the baby is resting, and when the baby is moving. As in all humans, the heart rate must go up when it is moving; hence, your baby’s must as well if there is nothing wrong.
Who undergoes a non-stress test?
Not all pregnant women undergo this test. Frequently, it is administered to women who are well past their due date, to evaluate yet-unborn babies’ condition. In other times, a non-stress test is also administered to high-risk pregnancies about a month before the babies’ scheduled birth date.
Other pregnant women suffering from diabetes and are taking insulin shots also undergo this pre-natal test for babies, as well as those with gestational hypertension.
The non-stress test is also administered if the doctor finds your baby is less active than he or she should be at that time or appears to small. An abnormally high or low amniotic fluid could also lead to a non-stress test, so make sure you are going for your regular check-up to see if you need to undergo this test.
Non-stress test results
Your baby has normal or reactive test results if his or her heart beat during movement is faster by at least 15 seconds on two separate occasions within a 20-minute period. On the other hand, a nonreactive result ensues when your baby’s heartbeat does not accelerate when moving. Babies who have not moved for 90 minutes are also considered nonreactive. This means these babies might be lacking in oxygen supply, or that there are problems with the placenta.
Practitioners qualify, however, that a nonreactive result does not necessarily mean danger, and that a lack of information fed to the machine may just be the reason for the nonreactive result. Practitioners may decide to induce labor if they think the baby inside is not doing well.
Eating before the test is recommended as it is believed to trigger more activity in babies, albeit its effectiveness has not been scientifically proven. Eating, however, is completely safe before the procedure, not to mention prudent since the test goes on for at least an hour.
Do not be complacent. Results of non-stress tests for your babies are not conclusive. These might change the last minute so listen to your doctor if he or she says you must undergo the test again as your due date nears.