BioPhysical Profiles – What are they?

By Sandra Everets

May 14, 2020

I'm a Mama of two beautiful children, Evelyn & Noah. I've worked in Obstetrics for the past 14 years. I've have the amazing pleasure of working with women and their new families through their pregnancy, labour and delivery & post partum. I look forward to getting to know your family.

The moment you first see your baby on ultrasound and watch the heart flicker is the best feeling as an expecting mom. Your heart instantly fills with love and the incredible bond between a mother and her baby begins. Your health and the health of your baby is your healthcare teams number one priority and you will have several tests and ultrasounds done throughout your pregnancy. One of those ultrasounds may be a BioPhysical Profile, otherwise known as a BPP. This is typically done in high risk pregnancies, if your go past your due date or if your healthcare provider has a concern and wants to check in on your baby’s well being in your womb.

What is a Biophysical Profile (BPP)?

A biophysical profile (BPP) measures the health of your baby (fetus) during your pregnancy. A BPP may include a non-stress test with electronic fetal heart monitoring and a fetal ultrasound. The BPP measures your baby’s heart rate, muscle tone, movement, breathing, and the amount of amniotic fluid around your baby.

During the ultrasound, the technician is looking at the well being of your baby and scoring your baby on specific criteria. We want to see your baby doing these things over the course of the ultrasound – a breathing episode, two movements, good muscle tone (i.e.; flexion/extension of their arm/leg), and an assessment of the amount of amniotic fluid around the baby. Your baby will receive a score out of 2 for each one for a total out of 8. Most babies will receive an 8 out of 8! When we complete the non stress test, we are looking specifically at the baby’s heart rate over 20-30 minutes and this gives us an addition score out of 2 for a grand total out of 10. May BPP’s just include the ultrasound and are scored out of 8. The total score will help decide the overall health and well being of your baby and help your health care provider determine if your baby should be delivered sooner than your due date.

What can you expect during your BPP?

You do not have to do any specific preparations for your ultrasound, and it may be scheduled at a local ultrasound clinic, in the hospital or your doctor’s office. It is a safe, painless, and quick test that takes around 30 minutes. The technician will put

gel on your belly and use an ultrasound probe to produce images. Ultrasounds use high-frequency sound waves to create images of the inside of your body.

According to Health Canada, the Society of Obstetricians & Gynecologist (SOGC),American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologist (ACOG) as well as the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) there is no evidence that ultrasounds harm a developing fetus. The exams do not use radiation or x-rays.

You can monitor your baby’s well being throughout your pregnancy at home by keeping track of your baby’s movement through kick counts. Included with all prenatal class is unlimited email support from your local Mama Coach & Registered Nurse. We are here to answer all your pregnancy, labour, birthing, and postpartum questions until you deliver your baby!

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