Overview & Description
A biophysical profile (BPP) is a way to check the status of a developing baby, or fetus. A BPP includes a pregnancy ultrasound, which is a type of X-ray test that uses sound waves. A BPP also includes checking the baby’s heart rate for a period of time. This part of the test is also called a nonstress test. A BPP is usually done in the last 3 months, or third trimester, of pregnancy.
Who is a candidate for the test?
The healthcare provider may order a BPP if there is concern about the health of the baby. A BPP may be ordered if the mother has one or more of the following health problems:
A BPP may be done if the healthcare provider suspects problems with the pregnancy, such as:
A BPP may also be ordered because of problems in the developing fetus, including:
How is the test performed?
During the procedure, the mother lies on her left side to maximize blood flow to the baby. The healthcare provider usually does a nonstress test first. This involves pasting electrodes on the skin of the mother’s abdomen. The baby’s heart tracing is then recorded through the skin painlessly. This is followed by a detailed pregnancy ultrasound. The BPP results in a score of zero to 10. Each part of the profile may receive a score of zero or 2. The higher the score, the better. The scoring is as follows:
Preparation & Expectations
What is involved in preparation for the test?
There is no preparation needed for a biophysical profile.
Results and Values
What do the test results mean?
A score of 8 to 10 is considered normal. A score of 6 is borderline. A score below 6 means that the baby may have problems if labor begins. Abnormal results may require repeat of the BPP or even immediate delivery. Here is what low scores in biophysical profiles may mean.
Further, more aggressive testing or even immediate delivery may be needed if the BPP is below normal.
Article type: xmedgeneral