In the final trimester, some tests are necessary to
monitor baby's health if the mother is a high risk
candidate for some medical complications from the
start, develops medical complications during pregnancy
or passes week 40 without delivering. These tests
will either reassure the mother that all is well or
if baby needs to be delivered immediately. Nonstress
test is a simple, painless procedure in which a baby's
heartbeat is continuously monitored for 20 minutes
or more and the details are recorded for evaluation.
The logic behind the test is, that like adults, a
baby's heartbeat should accelerate when it is active
i.e. moving and kicking. The nonstress test can be
done whenever the need arises so there is no specific
time for it.
Who needs the nonstress
• Women with preexisting medical conditions
such as diabetes
• Women with pregnancy-induced medical conditions
such as hypertension
• Baby is less active than normal
• Baby is small for its age
• Amniotic fluid is either too much or too little
• Women who have previously lost their babies
in the second half of their pregnancies
• Women with pregnancies continuing after week
40 to basically check on the well- being of baby
Why the nonstress test
and what it means..
• Nonstress test is basically performed to evaluate
on how the baby is doing inside. How often you need
the test will depend on your doctor; it can be every
week or more often till the baby is born.
• The test result is considered to be normal
or reactive if baby's heart beats faster on two separate
occasions during the 20 minute span.
• If baby is resting the result will most likely
be non-reactive. However if results persist to be
non-reactive even after one hour, it doesn't necessarily
mean something is wrong with the baby.
• Results may also be non-reactive due to baby's
age; babies below week 32 have not hit the required
maturity for reactivity.
• The test time may be extended or the mother
may have to go for more comprehensive tests like biophysical
• If your doctor is absolutely sure that baby
is not thriving inside, the labor may be induced
The Procedure itself..
• You will be made to lie down on your left
side. Two electronic devices will be strapped to your
• The transducer ultrasound will monitor baby's
• The other device will record any uterine contractions
felt by the mother
• If there are no movements, the technician
may wake baby up with a buzzer
• The test takes about 20 minutes to an hour
• It will be sensible to pee and tuck in a snack
before the procedure as the whole thing can last for