Tests in Late Pregnancy

If your labor has not yet begun, your healthcare provider may want you to have a few tests that will monitor the well-being of your baby as your pregnancy continues.

• A non-stress test is the simplest and most common. It’s based on the observation that the heart rate of a healthy baby accelerates by about 15 beats per minute for 15 seconds when the baby moves.

During the test, your caregiver will try to get your baby moving a little (with sound or by giving you a high-glucose snack) and then count his heartbeats.

Sometimes a baby is sleeping during the test and doesn’t react. If that happens, the test will just be repeated later in the day.

• A contraction stress test (CST) is a less common test in late pregnancy. With a CST, gentle labor contractions are encouraged by stimulating your nipples or by giving you a little of the labor-stimulating drug Pitocin. The CST test indicates if a baby is stressed by labor contractions.

We may also ask you to keep count of how many times your baby moves within a given time period.

This message is not intended to provide individual medical advice. Always seek the advice of a physician or qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have about your health or medical condition, your breastfeeding issues and your infant's health. Never disregard, avoid or delay contacting a doctor or other qualified professional because of something you have read in our emails, webpages or other electronic communications.

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