Biophysical Profile Procedure


A biophysical profile is a test measures the health of the fetus during the third trimester of pregnancy. It is a simple and painless test that combines an ultrasound evaluation with a non-stress test (NST). The biophysical profile assesses five parameters of fetal status which are the following:

  • Fetal heart rate (FHR)
  • Fetal breathing movements
  • Gross fetal movements
  • Fetal muscle tone
  • Amniotic fluid volume

Through a biophysical profile (BPP) the condition of the fetus can be most accurately predicted as it involves several parameters to be evaluated.

Purpose of Performing Biophysical Profile

  1. To assess acute and chronic markers of fetal well-being. The components of examination in BPP are acute and chronic markers of fetal well-being.  The short-term (acute) markers are the FHR reactivity, fetal breathing movements, gross fetal movements and fetal muscle tone. A major chronic or long-term marker is the amount of amniotic fluid.
  2. Check the health status of the fetus if the mother has the following condition:
  • Bleeding problems
  • Lupus
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Gestational diabetes
  • Oligohydramnios
  • Polyhydramnios
  • Multiple pregnancy
  • Preeclampsia
  • Pregnancy past the due date


Biophysical profile procedure involves two parts, the Non-stress Test (NST) and the ultrasound evaluation. Fetal heart rate reactivity is interpreted from a non-stress test (NST). The other four parameters are measured by real-time ultrasonography.

With the NST procedure the mother is asked to lie on her left side. Two devices are strapped to her belly – the first is used to record the fetal heart beat and the other to measure contractions of the uterus. Fetal movements, heart rate and its reactivity to fetal activity are measured for about 20 to 30 minutes while the technician listens and watches on the electronic screen.

In real-time ultrasonography procedure, fetal body movements, muscle tone and breathing movements are noted and evaluated. Also, the amount of amniotic fluid surrounding the fetus is assessed and recorded. This procedure may take about an hour and the technician will note signs that are important in measuring the health of the fetus.

Interpretation of Data

A scoring technique is used to interpret the data, with each parameter contributing either 0 or 2 points. These scores are added for a total score range of 0 to 10. A score of 10 is perfect while the score of zero is the worst score. A total score of 8 to 10 is considered normal unless oligohydramnios is present. A score of 6 is considered borderline and a score below it requires further assessment and evaluation.

Daisy Jane Antipuesto RN MN

Currently a Nursing Local Board Examination Reviewer. Subjects handled are Pediatric, Obstetric and Psychiatric Nursing. Previous work experiences include: Clinical instructor/lecturer, clinical coordinator (Level II), caregiver instructor/lecturer, NC2 examination reviewer and staff/clinic nurse. Areas of specialization: Emergency room, Orthopedic Ward and Delivery Room. Also an IELTS passer.

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