Antepartum fetal surveillance is provided at each of our outpatient/inpatient clinical sites. A wide range of services to monitor a baby’s well-being are provided. The antenatal fetal testing units are staffed by experienced perinatal nurses with extensive fetal testing experience. Each antenatal surveillance test is performed and evaluated by a maternal fetal medicine specialist.
Antenatal Surveillance Services
Non-Stress Test (NST)
Non-stress tests consist of monitoring of the baby's heart rate using a device that emits sound waves to detect the fetal cardiac motion. The pattern of the fetal heart rate–including the baseline rate, variability and presence or absence of accelerations or decelerations–can provide valuable information about the baby’s well-being.
Biophysical Profile (BPP)
A biophysical profile is performed using ultrasound to evaluate the baby's movement, tone and breathing exercises while still within the uterus. Pedal movements can also provide ordinance information about the baby’s well-being.
Amniotic Fluid Assessment
Amniocentesis or amniotic fluid assessment is a measurement of the amniotic fluid obtained through an ultrasound evaluation. The deepest pocket of fluid in four different areas within the uterus is measured in centimeters and some. The resulting value is called the amniotic fluid index. Low levels of amniotic fluid are a marker of poor placental function and may be associated with fetal distress.
Pregnancies complicated by abnormal maternal antibodies can result in fetal anemia due to destruction of the baby's red blood cells. Treatment of this condition requires a transfusion of blood to the fetus while still within the uterus. This technique is called intrauterine transfusion.
External Cephalic Version
When a baby is found to be in breach position near the end of the pregnancy (after 36 weeks gestation), a patient may be offered the option of an external cephalic version. During this procedure a doctor will attempt to turn the infant by applying pressure with their hands on the maternal abdomen. When successful, this procedure may prevent the need for cesarean section and allow a woman to have a normal vaginal delivery.
Doppler Assessment of Umbilical Artery Blood Flow
Specialized ultrasound techniques called Doppler flow studies can be used to assess the blood flow in the baby's blood vessels to determine fetal well-being.
Several conditions may place a pregnancy at high risk for complications. Patients with these conditions may benefit from antenatal fetal surveillance prior to delivery. This testing is usually initiated at sometime after 28 weeks.
Reasons for testing include but are not limited to the following:
- decreased fetal movement
- maternal diabetes
- maternal high blood pressure
- poor fetal growth (intrauterine growth restriction, or IUGR)
- low amniotic fluid
- multiple gestation
- previous stillbirth
- other maternal medical conditions