One of the things a mother should be aware of is the common tests done during pregnancy. The non-stress test is common if you are pregnant and if you are already in your third trimester. To ensure your baby is in great health, you need to know what a nonstress test is during pregnancy.
What Is Non-stress Test During Pregnancy?
A nonstress test is used to assess the status of the fetus inside your womb by measuring the baby’s heart rate as well as his/her responsiveness. This is utilized to monitor the heart rate and to determine whether or not uterine contractions are present. This test is usually required if you are having complications or if you are already overdue. Your doctor might ask you to do this test if your unborn is moving unusually.
Does Everyone Get A Non-Stress Test During Pregnancy?
Not every pregnant woman is required to get this test. This is prescribed for mothers who are at risk of fetal death or one who is suffering from complications such as preeclampsia and gestational diabetes, or one required to undergo a procedure such as amniocentesis.
And usually, this test is done during the 26th weeks or beyond. But experts recommend taking this test after 28 weeks for accuracy. This test may be done once or thrice a week, depending on your situation. Anyway, this is also a routine test for twin pregnancy.
Why Is The Test Done?
The non-stress test is a noninvasive way to check the health of your baby. It assesses your baby’s heartbeat, movement, and contractions. It records heart rhythm changes if your baby moves, rests, or contracts during labor. If it is active, your baby should beat faster, just like your heartbeat.
This test is done to ensure the health of your baby and that he gets enough oxygen his body needs. Anyway, this test is called as such because it won’t disturb your baby. You are also not asked to take any medications. It means that this test records what your baby naturally does in your tummy.
[Also Read: How To Prevent Birth Defects During Pregnancy]
How To Prepare For The Test?
There is no need for special preparation for this test. The non-stress test is safe for both you and your baby. You are merely asked to lie down and place the two belts on your belly. One belt records your baby’s heartbeat, while the other records your baby’s contractions.
Procedure Of The Test
The procedure varies depending on what is being used by your doctor or your healthcare provider. It may be done in a special prenatal testing area or your doctor’s office. You will be asked to lie down while the belt is being attached to your belly. If you feel your baby is moving or kicking, you press a button for your doctor to know the changes of his heartbeat while he is moving. This test usually lasts for 20 to 40 minutes.
The result may be reactive or nonreactive. Reactive means that the result is normal. Your baby’s heart rate increases more than twice during the test. On the other hand, non reactive means that your baby’s heart rate doesn’t change, so you need further tests.
What If NST Is Nonreactive?
The result will be nonreactive if your baby doesn’t meet the standard required. But this does not necessarily mean that there is something wrong with your baby. Sometimes, your baby is just sleeping. It might be that your baby is still immature and this is usually the result if you have taken this test before your 28th weeks.
What is Normal NST?
If the result is reactive, then it is considered as normal. It means that your baby is doing well, and he gets a sufficient amount of oxygen.
What Is A Non Stress Test At 40 Weeks?
If you are already on your 40th weeks of pregnancy, it is already your full-term. It means that you are already nine months pregnant. If you reach this stage, your doctor will most likely require you to take a non-stress test. This is done for testing, monitoring, and caring for you and your baby’s health. This can show the movement of your baby, as well as your contractions, to see the response of your baby’s heart rate. Aside from this, you may be required to have an ultrasound to check your amniotic fluid levels.
If you are pregnant, your doctor will require you to undergo various tests, such as the non-stress test, especially if you are already in your 28th weeks. That is the reason why you need to understand what is a non-stress test during pregnancy so that you will know the health status of your baby.
Doctor, author and fitness enthusiast, Ahmed Zayed, MD, is a surgery resident with a passion for helping people live a happy healthy life. He is the author of numerous health-related books and contributor to several medicine, health and wellbeing websites.