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How is a Non-Stress test administered? (NST)

Posted Dec 20 2008 5:57pm


So many tests so little time....Pregnant? Is it time for your non-stress test? Are you stressed out about it? Well don't be. The information below will explain how easy and painless it really is....(and I have had SEVERAL so I know what I'm talking about!)
How is a Non-Stress test administered? (NST)

The NST is another way of externally monitoring your baby. The NST can be done as early as the 27th week of pregnancy, and it measures the Fetal Heart Rate (FHR) accelerations with normal movement. For this test, you will sit with knees and back partially elevated with a cushion under the right hip, which moves your uterus to the left.

The  monitors are placed on your abdomen to measure the FHR and the ability of the uterus to contract. If there is no activity after 30 - 40 minutes, you will be given something to drink or a small meal which may stimulate fetal activity. (ask for chocolate!) Other interventions that might encourage fetal movement include the use of fetal acoustic stimulation (sending sounds to the fetus) and gently placing your hands on your abdomen and moving the fetus.

A NST may be performed if:

  • You sense that the baby is not moving as frequently as usual
  • You are overdue
  • There is any reason to suspect that the placenta is not functioning adequately
  • You are high risk for any other reason such as multiples

The test can indicate if the baby is not receiving enough oxygen because of placental or umbilical cord problems; it can also indicate other types of fetal distress.

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