Claudia was considered ‘high risk’ due her advanced maternal age of 38. She felt great going into her third trimester, both physically and mentally. Sure, there was always a bout of doubt with every ping or pang her body made as the weeks came; but overall she was healthy and happy. Her provider had ordered her a special screening for precaution, a biophysical profile. Claudia agreed to the screening due to the fact that there would not be an examination of any physical sort.
What is a Biophysical Profile
Biophysical profile (BPP) is a test that measures the health of a baby in utero. Candidates for a BPP can vary, but are all under a reason for monitoring. Those who are considered high-risk, individuals that are over 40 weeks gestation, carrying multiples, or after a physical incident that may have an impact on the baby, are some reasons why a provider may conduct a biophysical profile. A BPP is generally conducted in the third trimester, after 32 weeks pregnant. The biophysical test is done within 30-minutes to an hour’s time and is conducted by ultrasound and electronic fetal monitors.
What Does the BPP Measure
Because the health of the gestational carrier can impact the overall health of a gestating fetus, a biophysical profile is a way to monitor (or be proactive) in the growing fetus’ development. This non-invasive test measures fetal heart rate, baby’s muscle tone, movement, breathing, and amniotic fluid levels. The monitoring of the baby’s heart rate is to see the rhythm of the heartbeats and accelerations. Because amniotic fluid is what protects the baby while in utero, knowing the levels of fluid that surround the baby before the breaking of waters, is vital information. Muscle tone detection is to monitor how a baby is able to utilize arms and leg movement (bending and flexing).
What do the Test Results Mean
Each portion of the biophysical profile testing is measured by 2 points. A “2” will be given if the test results are within the range of normal. If the range results are outside of the normal range, a score of “0” is given. When all five tests are conducted, the overall results of 8-10 are considered healthy. A retest may be done with results of 6-8. Retests are performed within 24-hours after the initial test results. Scores 5 and below are signs that the baby may be having complications. Delivery of a baby may be the best viable option for the baby.
Biophysical profile testing can bring about fear, concerns, and anxiety regarding the results. While these tests provide insight to information and happenings in the womb, they are not 100% telling of how the baby is fairing. Sometimes false results can occur. The reason that biophysical profiles can be a beneficial tool to a pregnancy, is to delay or combat the onset of preterm labor or preeclampsia. Both of which are not to be handled lightly.
Claudia sat patiently in the quiet empty waiting room. Why do these types of things bring so.much.anxiety to a person? She asked herself. She felt great. Baby looked and appeared great. But she understood that with her age, it was always “better safe than sorry.” What seemed like forever, was only 10 minutes when a friendly nurse came by and gave her the results. Baby girl was a perfect 10.