A biophysical profile (BPP) is a test to check the health of your baby in the womb. The test combines a nonstress test (NST) with ultrasound. A NST measures your baby's heart rate as it moves around. An ultrasound is a test that uses high-frequency sound waves to create an image of your baby on a computer screen. Biophysical profile testing is usually done in the last trimester of pregnancy.
There are five parts to a BPP:
The nonstress test
Plus four ultrasound tests:
Your baby's breathing movements
You baby's movements
How well your baby's muscles work (fetal tone)
The amount of amniotic fluid
Each of the five areas of the BPP has a possible total score of two points, for a total of 10 points. A score of:
Eight to ten is usually considered normal.
Six is considered equivocal (uncertain).
Four or less is considered abnormal.
If the score is questionable or abnormal, or if the amniotic fluid volume is too low, additional testing may be needed.
Another type of BPP is sometimes done. The modified BPP combines the nonstress test and an evaluation of the amount of amniotic fluid called the amniotic fluid index (AFI). The largest pocket of amniotic fluid is measured in each of the four quadrants of the mother's abdomen using ultrasound. All four quadrants added together give the amniotic fluid index.