What is Nonstress Test (NST)? Who Gets the Test? What the Test Does?

Richa Saxenaby:


Pregnancy is an overwhelming experience between hormones and morning sickness. Every woman faces one or the other issues during her pregnancy period but in this 9 month you will come to know the good and bad of this whole pregnancy process. Keeping a life inside you teaches you how strong women. 

What is Nonstress Test (NST)?

The Non-Stress test is a simple, non-invasive test performed in pregnancies over 28 weeks gestation. You may need it if you’re overdue or have complications during pregnancy. Your doctor may suggest it if your baby seems to be moving less than usual. The test is named “non-stress” because no stress is placed on the fetus during the test. This test is also called  Cardiotocography.

Why it is called Nonstress Test?

It’s called a nonstress test because the test wont bother your baby. Your doctor won’t use medications to make your baby move. The NST records what your baby is doing naturally.

Who Gets the Test?

As I mentioned above this test is a common test for pregnant women.

What the test Does?

The nonstress test is a simple, noninvasive way of checking on your baby’s health.

The test involves attaching one belt to the mother’s abdomen to record the baby’s movement, heartbeat, and another belt to measure contractions. Movement, heart rate and “reactivity” of heart rate to movements are measured for 20-30 minutes. Your baby’s heart should beat faster when active — just like yours. Normally If the baby does not move, it does not necessarily indicate there is a problem; the baby could just be asleep. This test also assures that your baby is healthy and getting enough oxygen.

Why Would A NST Be Performed?

A NST may be performed if:
You sense the baby is not moving as frequently as usual as it was earlier.I felt the same when I got the test that my baby girl was not moving frequently. 

How the Test Is Done

You’ll lie down with two belts around your belly. One measures your baby’s heartbeat and the other measures contractions. When you feel the baby kick or move, you may press a button so your doctor can see how the baby’s heartbeat changed while moving. The test will take about 20 minutes.

If your baby seems to be sleeping, a nurse may try to wake up your baby by ringing a bell, moving your belly or by using an acoustic stimulator.

What to Know About Test Results

A normal non-stress test shows that your baby is getting enough oxygen and is doing well. If the results are abnormal, your doctor will suggest further testing.

If your baby doesn’t move during the non-stress test, try not to worry. Many women with abnormal results turn out to have perfectly healthy babies. Sometimes, babies sleep through the whole thing. The test is not checking “movement,” but evaluating reactivity of the heartbeat. There may or may not be appreciable movement during the test.

How Often the Test Is Done During Your Pregnancy

Women might start getting weekly or twice weekly get a non-stress testing after 28 weeks if you have a high risk pregnancy. (Before 28 weeks, the test isn’t accurate.) Some may only need one isolated NST if the baby is not moving well. You may need the test more often depending on your situation. Be in touch with your doctor.

How was my experience with NST ? 

On the 11th of April,

I finished teaching my students and was getting ready to go to the doctor. It was my 9th month so normally every pregnant woman have to go to the doctor twice in weak. I went to the doctor and I told the doctor that I am feeling less movement in my belly and I should be feeling more movement as it is the ninth month. After she heard me completely she recommended me to have NST. She told me to go for NST as my baby might not be very active because the baby was fine and moving just a week ago. 

The doctor told me that the fetal heart rate is getting slow. She told that the baby is not able to get enough oxygen so she advised me to immediately get admitted in the hospital and a day after I had my newborn.

Disclaimer: This article is written based on my own knowledge and experience some information might vary person to person.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll Up