The Non-Stress Test Breakdown

Near the end of your pregnancy, your healthcare provider may want to perform a non-stress test to assess your baby’s health condition while they’re still inside the womb. This test is a good assessment of the baby’s health condition and helps us determine the best care for mom and baby. We are here to give you the non-stress test breakdown!

What is the nonstress test?

A non-stress test is a graphical representation of your baby’s heart rate timed with their movements and uterine contractions.

It’s called a non-stress test since there are no additional stress stimuli given to the mother or baby in order to get the information needed.

What is it for?

In some places, a non-stress test might be done as part of a standard protocol to ensure everything is fine with the baby. However, there are some instances when it might be used if there is concern that the baby’s health is at risk due to certain predetermined conditions.

A non-stress test can give you important information regarding the baby’s health. For example, in certain conditions, the baby might not be getting enough oxygen which may slow down the heart rate. Similarly, certain conditions may cause the baby’s heart rate to be faster.

Based on the results of the test, your health provider can decide whether or not they need to intervene.

How is it performed?

You’ll be asked to sit comfortably in bed or on a reclining chair while your abdomen is exposed. 

A belt with two monitors will be strapped onto your belly. One will measure the baby’s heart rate while the other measures your uterine contractions. You’ll be given a button that you need to press every time you feel a contraction. 

The monitors are attached to a display monitor. Both the heartbeat and the contractions are displayed either on a screen or on paper for your health provided to assess. The whole process usually lasts for as long as 20 mins. It may be longer in some cases.

Is it noninvasive?

Yes! The test is mainly conducted via the belt that is attached to your belly externally. No needles or probes are involved.