Reproductive Genetics

Biophysical profile

"Biophysical profile" is a name given to a special ultrasound assessment, often following a nonreactive nonstress test. In a biophysical profile, the fetus receives a score of either 0, 2, 4, 6, 8, or 10, based on the presence or absence of five elements: reactive nonstress test, adequate amount of amniotic fluid, fetal tone (bending and straightening the joints), fetal body movements (rolls), and fetal breathing motions (in-and-out motions of the chest wall). The fetus gets either 2 or 0 points for the presence or absence of the above five factors. A score of 8 or 10 is considered normal. A score of 0 or 2 is never considered normal. Scores of 4 and 6 are worrisome; delivery would be appropriate at term, but further evaluation may be appropriate in the case of pregnancies far from the due date. Like the NST, some fetal conditions other than lack of oxygen may result in low scores (broken bag of waters, fetal birth defects, sleep cycles, maternal medications, etc.). Whereas the nonstress test is either reactive or nonreactive, the biophysical profile has an advantage in giving a graded score, with each lower grade increasing the likelihood of problems in the fetus.


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