All Children's Hospital Logo

Health Information

Search Health Information   

Nonstress Testing

What is a nonstress test?

A nonstress test (NST) measures the fetal heart rate in response to the fetus' movements. Generally, the heart rate of a healthy fetus increases when the fetus moves. The NST is usually performed in the last trimester of pregnancy.

How is a nonstress test performed?

The actual procedure for a NST may vary, but, generally, the procedure is as follows:

Sometimes, the testing occurs during a fetal sleep cycle, when there is little fetal movement. A special acoustic (sound) device is sometimes used to awaken the fetus. It is placed against the mother's abdomen and makes a noise like a buzzer. This is not harmful to the fetus but may help a sleepy fetus become more active. Having the mother eat or drink may also awaken the fetus.

Test results of the NST:

Test results of the NST may be:

A nonreactive NST does not always mean there is a problem with the fetus. The fetus may simply be asleep. Or, it may be nonreactive because of fetal immaturity. It is common for preterm fetuses, especially those before 28 weeks, to have nonreactive nonstress tests. Additional prenatal testing may be necessary.

Click here to view the
Online Resources of High-Risk Pregnancy


Additional Info

Pocket Doc Mobile App
Maps and Locations (Mobile)
Programs & Services
Employment
For Health Professionals
For Patients & Families
Contact Us
Find a Doctor
News
CME

All Children's Hospital
501 6th Ave South
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
(727) 898-7451
(800) 456-4543

Use Normal Template
© 2014 All Children's Hospital - All Rights Reserved