Monday, May 24, 2010

non-stress test and biophysical profile

Welcome to the world of prenatal monitoring! Here are two terms you may or may not be familiar with:

Non-stress test, or NST: The name of this test sent me to Google to find out what a "stress test" might be. There isn't such a thing, per se, but the non-stress test is in contrast to the contraction stress test (CST) where mild contractions are induced to see how the baby responds under those conditions. During an NST, there are two monitors strapped to the mother's belly: one at the top of the uterus to measure spontaneous contractions, and the other lower down to pick up the baby's heartbeat. I had a LOT of NSTs when I was hospitalized with Valerie, and now I'm to have them twice a week. Basically they graph the heart-rate in conjunction with movement, and want to see the baby's heart rate speed up and slow down as s/he moves more and less vigorously.

Our NST today earned a 10/10 rating, which is perfect - BBJ did great with the moving around and kicking and heart beating etc. The machine picked up one contraction, which I felt also - I don't always feel them because at this stage they are very sporadic and mild. They're called Braxton-Hicks contractions when they're not actually labor contractions. I was having a lot more of them earlier before going on bed-rest.

Biophysical Profile: this is a specific kind of ultrasound - not in terms of how it's done, but in terms of what they are measuring. They're looking for three markers of healthy baby: good amount of amniotic fluid, lungs moving (they practice breathing by inhaling amniotic fluid), and practicing sucking. They also measure head, femur, and abdomen to calculate weight (although this can be somewhat inaccurate). BBJ is measuring around 4 lbs 5 oz which is great for 32 weeks, and he's doing everything he's supposed to be doing in utero. And he's still a boy :-)

I'll be having these ultrasounds once a week until we deliver. And I'll be doing repeat urinalysis each week as well.

And if I needed proof that bed rest is where I need to be, I got it Saturday evening - we had a friend visiting from DC and even though I tried to suppress my hostessing urges, my BP was really high that night and then down again the next day to the range where it was before her visit. So, visitors are great - but I really do need to keep quiet and keep visits short, especially in the evening when combined with dinnertime and bedtime for Valerie I tend to expend more energy than I should.

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