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Tests to monitor your baby's well-being

Your health care provider may do the following tests to check your baby's progress and growth.

Nonstress test

  • You lie down for about 30 minutes.
  • Two small, round parts of a fetal monitor are placed on your abdomen.
  • One records your baby's heart rate.
  • The other detects any uterine activity, such as preterm contractions.
  • If your test results are "reactive," that's good news -- your baby is responding in a healthy way.

Biophysical profile

  • Biophysical profile uses both ultrasound and a fetal monitor to evaluate five areas: your baby's breathing motions, body movements, muscle tone, amniotic fluid amount and heart rate activity. The fetal monitor evaluates the heart rate activity.
  • Two points are given for each measurement.
    • A score of eight to 10 is reassuring.
    • Lower scores may mean that your health care provider will want to further evaluate your baby's health.
  • Because you have gestational diabetes, you may need this test done regularly until your baby's birth.


This test works a bit like underwater radar, creating a picture of your baby and placenta.

  1. Gel is applied to your abdomen as you rest.
  2. A technician moves a transducer (microphone) over your abdomen.
  3. A picture of your baby and placenta appears on a nearby monitor. Sometimes the ultrasound equipment can take a photo for you to take home.

Ultrasound can:

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Ultrasound involves the use of high-frequency sound waves to create images of organs and systems within the body.

Learn more about ultrasound in our health encyclopedia.

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Fetal monitor

Fetal heart monitoring lets the health care provider monitor the baby's heartbeat in the uterus, including during labor.

Learn more about fetal monitors in our health encyclopedia.

  • determine the age of your baby
  • detect the presence of twins
  • help determine your due date
  • measure your baby's growth and development
  • sometimes determine your baby's gender


Source: Allina Patient Education, Gestational Diabetes: When You Have Diabetes During Pregnancy, third edition, ISBN 1-931876-21-6

First published: 11/27/2006
Last updated: 04/01/2010

Reviewed by: Allina Patient Education experts