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NST – Non Stress Test During Pregnancy

We all wish for a smooth pregnancy journey. However, in some cases, extra care may be needed for the mother and child, especially during the third trimester. Part of that is the non-stress test (NST) which helps your doctor to assess your unborn baby’s oxygen levels.


Non Stress test for your baby

The NST is a common test used to evaluate the health of the baby, particularly if there are concerns about fetal heart rate or if the mother is Rh negative. During the test, the baby's heartbeat is monitored to ensure that it is within a normal range. If the fetal heart rate is elevated or low, further testing may be needed.

The procedure is simple, painless, and usually takes between 20 to 40 minutes. During that time, your NST OBGYN in Newport Beach will listen to your baby’s movements and monitor its heartbeat.

Our obstetric practice makes this process seamless and worth your while by:

Using the most advanced non-stress test equipment available

Using the most advanced non-stress test equipment available ensures that the test results are accurate and reliable, giving you peace of mind about your baby's well-being.


Providing you with a safe and comfortable environment

Providing you with a safe and comfortable environment ensures that you feel relaxed and at ease during the test, which can help to produce more accurate results.


Listening to you and educating you on the procedure

Listening to you and educating you on the procedure helps to put you at ease and alleviate any concerns you may have about the test.

Providing you with access to top-notch skills & years of experience

Providing you with access to top-notch skills & years of experience gives you the reassurance that your test is being performed by skilled and experienced professionals who have the knowledge and expertise to detect any potential issues.


Our Unique Approach

NST in Newport Beach, Orange County

It’s recommended to go for regular prenatal care throughout your pregnancy. This allows your obstetrician to monitor your well-being as well as that of your developing infant. Should the pregnancy be classified as high risk, tests may need to be performed at a greater frequency to make sure any potential issues are detected well ahead of time.

The NST is one of those tests and there’s no better place to have it done than in our Newport Beach OBGYN practice. Why? Because we care more.

At Broad Medical Group, we go above and beyond what the average obstetric office does by providing you with compassionate and empathetic attention.

Your peace of mind is always our top priority. We understand that the idea of having this test done might make you anxious and that’s why we are here so you may have the peace of mind you need especially at this special phase of your life.

Our team works for you by educating and offering you the love and moral support you need at all times.


Will My Baby Be Safe?

The non-stress test is safe, non-invasive, and harmless to you and your baby. Most importantly, the test is designed with your developing infant’s best interests at heart. 

One of the benefits of the NST is that it is non-invasive and does not require any special preparation. However, it can be uncomfortable for some women to lie on the exam table for an extended period of time with the belts around their abdomen. If the test is causing discomfort or anxiety, it’s important to let the healthcare provider know.

Without it, it would be difficult to know, for sure, how your baby is coping inside the womb. Yet getting this kind of information is extremely important for timely interventions.

If you are feeling stressed or extremely anxious about the test, feel free to talk to your trusted OBGYN in Orange County. Together, we can work with you to make this test a huge success so you can get the reassurance you need about your own safety and that of your developing infant.


Before The Test

There is no special preparation needed prior to the test. In some cases, the doctor may suggest taking a snack before going to the testing room as a way to get your baby active for better monitoring. Also, since the test can take as long as 40 minutes, it is always advisable to take a bathroom break before going in for the exam.

What should you wear? Again, there are no hard rules here. But for your own comfort, you may want to wear comfortable and relaxed-fit clothes. You may be requested to put on a gown.

It’s also important to notify your doctor about any medications you might be taking so they can advise you accordingly. Some medications can affect fetal activity levels and your OBGYN may recommend omitting a dose.


What Happens During a Non-Stress Test?

During a non-stress test (NST), a pregnant woman lies on an exam table with belts wrapped around her abdomen. These belts are used to monitor the fetal heart rate and assess the baby’s breathing patterns. The testing period usually lasts for about 20-30 minutes.

During your NST appointment, our nurses will take your blood pressure as part of preparing you for the main test.

You will be provided with a reclining chair to lie on. A sensor will be gently placed around your tummy and used to measure your infant’s heart rate.

Normally, a nonstress test takes 20 minutes. However, if your baby is asleep or inactive, your gynecologist might need to extend the test for another 20 minutes to give your baby time to become active. A noise-making device may be placed near your abdomen to try and stimulate the baby too.



Once the test is complete and the results have been reviewed, the belts can be removed and the pregnant woman can continue with her day. While the NST can be a stressful experience for some, it’s an important tool for ensuring the health and wellbeing of the baby during pregnancy.

If the test is extended to 40 minutes and your baby remains unresponsive, your OBGYN may recommend other prenatal tests such as the Biophysical Profile and Contraction Stress Test to further check your developing infant’s condition.

After the Procedure

Once the procedure is complete, our compassionate healthcare expert will discuss the results with you.

After the testing period is complete, we  will review the results to ensure that the baby’s heartbeat and breathing patterns are normal. If there are any concerns, further testing may be recommended. 

The results may include:

Reactive: A reactive non-stress test result simply means that your baby’s heart rate rose to the expected highs at least twice during the duration of the procedure. This type of result is also known as the reassuring result because it confirms that your infant is receiving normal oxygen levels and is doing fine.

Non-Reactive: If your baby’s heart rate fails to rise to the expected high throughout the test, the result may be described as non-reactive. It’s worth noting that a non-reactive result does not always mean there’s something awfully wrong with your developing infant. In some cases, it may be due to the fact that your baby was asleep during the procedure.


The Reason behind

Common Reasons for Having an NST and BPP Done

During pregnancy, the Non-Stress Test (NST) and Biophysical Profile (BPP) are commonly used to monitor the health of both the mother and developing baby. The NST, usually performed after 28 weeks, is a non-invasive test that measures the baby's heart rate and movement. The BPP is a more comprehensive test that combines the NST with an ultrasound to evaluate the baby's breathing, movement, and amniotic fluid levels.

One reason these tests may be performed is to assess the baby's due date. If the NST or BPP shows nonreactive results, meaning the baby's heart rate does not increase when it moves, it could be an indication that the baby is not getting enough oxygen or nutrients, or that the baby is experiencing distress. In these cases, the healthcare provider may choose to induce labor or recommend a cesarean section before the baby is overdue.

The due date is an important factor in determining when to perform these tests, as they are typically done in the later stages of pregnancy. By monitoring the baby's heart rate and movement, as well as breathing and amniotic fluid levels with the BPP, healthcare providers can ensure that the baby is healthy and on track for a safe delivery.

It is important to consult your doctor about NST if you have:

  • Had multiple, complicated pregnancies
  • Underlying medical condition e.g., heart disease and type-1 diabetes
  • A pregnancy that is two weeks past your expected date of delivery
  • Experienced a sudden decline in fetal movements (over time)
  • Low amniotic fluid levels
  • Rhesus sensitization – e.g., when you’re rhesus negative and your baby rhesus positive

In conclusion, the Non-Stress Test (NST), also referred to as the nonstress test pregnancy or pregnancy stress test, is a non-invasive test that is an important tool in monitoring the health of the developing baby during pregnancy. 

It is particularly valuable for women with high-risk pregnancies or a history of complications in previous pregnancies. The test provides important information to healthcare providers to ensure a safe and healthy delivery.

Schedule An


The obstetrician, nurses, and medical staff at Newport Beach OB/GYN offer a comprehensive list of gynecological and obstetric services to the women of Orange County in California. If you have queries about special tests like the NST, call our office today to make an appointment.