A biophysical profile ultrasound is a test done on women who appear to have problem pregnancies for one reason or another, or who have health conditions that might make pregnancy more difficult. Women who don't deliver their babies around their due dates often will receive this test. It is also done if your pregnancy is considered to be high-risk. Women who have gestational diabetes or some other kind of diabetes or high blood pressure are candidates for a biophysical profile ultrasound. If your baby is not thriving in the womb, not growing, or is not as active as he or she should be, the test may be performed. If a previous pregnancy of yours has resulted in the baby's death, this test is also a good idea.
Biophysical Ultrasound Procedure
The first part involves the ultrasound, in which the doctor will watch how your baby moves. Special attention is paid to your baby's ability to respire. The doctor will also evaluate whether the amount of amniotic fluid is too much or too little. The second part involves a test to watch your baby's heartbeat. You, as the mother, are instructed to lie on your side, which will naturally cause the baby to move. The doctor will use a heart monitoring device and another device to monitor uterine movements. As you move, the doctor will be able to view the baby's heartbeat.
Results of the Biophysical Profile Ultrasound
The results are ranked on a scale of 0 to 10, and take five factors into account. According to babycenter.com http://www.babycenter.com/0_biophysical-profile_1276703.bc?page=2, those factors are body movements, muscle tone, breathing, amount of amniotic fluid, and heart rate. If your baby's overall score is lower than a 6, your doctor may decide that you need to deliver. At this point, labor may be induced, or if it is too risky, you may be prepped for a C-section.
It is also possible that you will need to take additional tests beforehand, however, depending on how well your baby scored on individual factors. Some of these tests could be a contraction stress test or a Doppler ultrasound study. A Doppler ultrasound study is a more in-depth test that tests the flow of blood throughout your baby's vital organs. The doctor can also use this test to see how effective your placenta is at delivering nutrients to your child. A contraction stress test is also done to see how healthy the mother's placenta is and how good a job it is doing delivering oxygen to the baby, but with this test, the baby's heartbeat is evaluated.