Due to certain pregnancy concerns, routine measures past 28 weeks, going past your due date, or any reason your doctor/midwife deems necessary you may find yourself being told you need a fetal non-stress test or NST.
So what is an NST?
This test is simply looking to see how baby is doing. It is called non-stress because there is no added stress put on the baby during the non-invasive procedure.
Typically what it can look like is going into your provider’s office or sometimes to the hospital and getting connected to the monitors. (This blog talks about the monitoring process too) One external monitor is measuring any contractions if they are happening and the other measures baby’s heart rate. You will be connected for about 20-30 minutes while your care provider checks your baby’s heart rate, movement, and how it is reacting to the contractions. The provider is just looking to see if there are any signs of distress in your baby with that information.
Sometimes babies are more in the mood to sleep than move during an NST. Drinking something ice cold may help wake her up! If your baby still doesn’t want to move sometimes a “buzzer” can be used by the nurse to stimulate baby to move.
Based off what your doctor or midwife learns from the NST you will be given instructions if anything different needs to happen. This test is one way your provider can get a peek into how your baby is doing.
Written by: Andrea Stainbrook