What Is a Non-Stress Test?

Being a parent starts even before your baby is born. You should make sure that your developing baby is healthy inside your womb. The Society for Women’s Health Research states that a non-stress test is an important part of pregnancy. Here are the details that you must consider if you want to know what a non-stress test is.


The Definition

Part of your pregnancy is to know the status of your developing baby’s health. That is why you need to get a non-stress test. This noninvasive prenatal test aims to check on your unborn baby’s health without any physical risk. It sees how the baby’s heart rate responds each time the baby moves.

It is a non-stress test because the process does not put stress on the baby at all. This test should take place after 26-28 weeks of pregnancy. Specific results may tell the doctor that you and your baby need more care and testing. Your doctor will need to keep an eye on you during your pregnancy as well.


Why It Is Done

This test aims to assess a baby’s health before the date of birth. Its goal is to give information about your baby’s oxygen supply. This is possible by checking the baby’s heart rate and response to the baby’s small movements. The data gathered may tell the doctor that there is a need for more testing.

A baby’s heart will beat faster during the later stages of pregnancy. This predicts a healthy baby during delivery. If the baby has a condition, such as fetal hypoxia, the heartbeat will be slower. Your doctor may recommend a non-stress test if you have any of the following:


  • A post-term pregnancy

  • Multiple pregnancies with complications

  • Low levels of amniotic fluid

  • Rh sensitization

  • An underlying chronic condition

  • A baby with possible fetal growth issues

  • A baby with decreased movements

  • A history of pregnancy complications

Your doctor could advise you to have a non-stress test once or twice each week. In some cases, a pregnant woman should have it every day. The frequency of tests will depend on your health. Your doctor will also consider your baby’s health.


The Risks

This test is noninvasive for you and your developing baby. There will be no physical stress upon you or your baby. A non-stress test may reassure you that your baby is healthy or show a problem that needs more testing. A doctor may recommend this test when there is more risk of pregnancy loss. It is not clear if the results of a non-stress test are helpful in this situation.


After the Non-Stress Test

Your doctor will remove the gel, belt, and transducer. Then, your doctor will reveal your results. For a reactive result, the baby’s heart rate must go up at least two times during the test. A non-reactive result means there is no change in the baby’s heart rate when the baby moves. This may call for other tests. A non-reactive non-stress test does not confirm that your baby is suffering from a problem. Your baby may just be asleep. Another reason is that the baby is still immature.

Your doctor will tell you if you need a non-stress test to ensure that you and your baby are healthy. At Partners in Obstetrics & Women’s Health, we prioritize the health, safety, and well-being of our patients and their developing babies. Feel free to visit our facility in New Lenox, Illinois, for an in-person consultation. You can also reach us at 815-240-0554 to set an appointment or inquire about our non-stress test packages.

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