Baby Ticker

Non-Stress Test

Bernard @ July 7, 2005, 11:17 pm -- [Week 34, Day 3]

Yesterday we had our first “non-stress test.” A non-stress test measures how the fetuses’ heart rates change in time to their own movement. Heart monitors are strapped to Agnes’ abdomen, and she presses a button every time she feels a movement. The heart rates are printed on a strip of paper with little arrows marking the places where Agnes pressed the button. In addition, the strip of paper also records any contractions that Agnes has. This test is different from a “stress test” where Agnes would be given Pitocin, which causes contractions and the heart rates of the fetuses are measured. We haven’t had one of these stress tests.

The heart rates generally ran between about 140 beats per minute to 160 beats per minute. The heart rates ran higher after each of the three contractions that Agnes had during the twenty minute test. It may sound like a lot of contractions to have in twenty minutes (considering the doctor told us we should be calling her if we had five or more in an hour), but these were pretty small contractions. If not for the monitor, Agnes might have dismissed them as movements from the babies. I’m not entirely sure what else they were looking for from the non-stress test, but apparently things looked okay.

We’re going to be doing these non-stress tests twice a week, in addition to our weekly OB appointment. That means we’ll be going in for an appointment of some kind three times a week from now until the end of the pregnancy. Fortunately, we’re getting close to the end.