Rashmi Hospital

Centre for Minimally Invasive Surgery & Maternity

190, Double Road, Indiranagar Bangalore 38

Tel: 25253311, 25251573, 25251139, 25200447

For Maternity, Gynaecology & ENT: 9880108844/9980015424

Keyhole surgeries performed

E-Mail: info@rashmihospital.com

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All your pregnancy questions answered

Non Stress Test [NST]

  • What is a non stress test?

A non-stress test is a simple, painless procedure in which your doctor monitors your baby's heartbeat first while the baby is resting and then while he's moving in order to evaluate his condition. Just as your heart beats faster when you're active, your baby's heart rate should go up while he's moving or kicking. The test is typically given within a month of your due date if you're having a high-risk pregnancy or if you've gone beyond your due date. The premise behind the test is that as your baby moves the oxygen requirement of the baby goes up and a healthy baby will compensate for this with an acceleration in its heart rate.

A NST will be done as a routine once between about 34-36 weeks and more often if you have a high risk pregnancy such as any of the following:

  1. Diabetes

  2. Hypertension [high blood pressure]

  3. Poor growth of the baby [IUGR}

  4. If you are past your EDD [Postdate]

  5. Reduced amount of amniotic fluid

  6. Reduced movements of your baby

  • How is the NST done?

 You'll probably be asked to eat a meal or have a sweet fruit juice just before the test, since eating may stimulate the baby to move around more. You'll also want to empty your bladder before the test so the slight pressure from the monitoring won't make you uncomfortable. Then you'll lie on your back with a tilt to your left side, and the technician will place two devices on your abdomen and hold them in place with elastic belts. One (an ultrasound transducer) monitors the baby's heartbeat and movement; the other records any contractions in your uterus. The technician will be listening to and watching your baby's heartbeat on a TV-like monitor while your contractions are recorded on paper. If your baby is not moving, he may be asleep. You may have to drink some water, juice

 to get him going or the technician may nudge him gently through your abdomen or wake him with a buzzer [vibroacoustic stimulation]. You will be given a small switch and be asked to press a button when you feel the baby move. The test usually takes 20 to 60 minutes.

  • How to evaluate the results

If your baby's heart beats faster while he's moving for at least 15 seconds on two separate occasions during a twenty-minute span, the result is normal or "reactive." A normal result means that your baby is likely to be fine for the next week. You're doctor may want to repeat the test every week (or more often) until your baby is born. If the baby's heart does not beat faster while he's moving or if he doesn't move after 40 minutes, the result is "nonreactive." A "nonreactive" result doesn't always mean that something is wrong. It merely means that the test did not provide enough information and you may need to take it again in an hour or take other tests such as a biophysical profile. However if your NST is 'nonreactive' it may be an indicator that your baby is not getting adequate oxygen and may need to be further investigated, and if required delivered early. In genera the interpretation is as follows:

  1. Reactive (Normal)
    1. Two or more fetal heart rate increases in 20 minutes
    2. Accelerations increase by 15 beats for 15 seconds
    3. Related to fetal movement
  2. Non-reactive
    1. Monitoring for two 20 minute periods
    2. Neither period yields adequate accelerations
    3. Adjuncts to assist fetal activity fail
      1. Acoustic stimulation
      2. Manual stimulation
      3. Glucose drink