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Reasons You Might Need a Biophysical Profile (BPP)

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Updated February 09, 2012

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Ultrasound exam
Photo © A.D.A.M.
A Biophysical Profile (BPP) is a test that is performed in late pregnancy using ultrasound and fetal monitoring. The Biophysical Profile is done as a way to try to watch how your baby is doing in the end of pregnancy.

Your baby will be scored on five things during the test. A score of 0 (abnormal) or 2 (normal) will be given in each of these categories:

  • muscle tone
  • body movements
  • breathing movements
  • amniotic fluid levels
  • heart rate

Your doctor or midwife will use the numbers given, along with other factors to decide what to do, if anything with your treatment. This may include doing nothing, waiting and repeating the test, inducing labor, a cesarean, etc. Here are some reasons that you may have a Biophysical Profile (BPP) ordered for your baby:

This may be a test that you have done once in your pregnancy, once a month or some other regularly scheduled timing. You can discuss what your practitioner is looking for and what the expected outcomes may be depending on what the numbers say. This explanation will also take into consideration other factors in your prenatal care.

Source:

Special Tests for Monitoring Fetal Health. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) Patient Education Pamphlet.

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