Sutter Women's Services
To monitor the well being of your baby, your doctor may refer you to Antepartum Testing. The tests described below are simple, comfortable, non-invasive and safe. They take approximately 30 to 45 minutes to complete. Most women enjoy these tests because they provide reassurance about the health of their baby. If you are a first-time visitor to our Antepartum Testing Unit, please register at Sutter Memorial Hospital's OB Registration office on the second floor by the Labor and Delivery Unit 20 minutes prior to your scheduled testing time. After registering, you will be directed to the Antepartum Testing Unit, which is located in 2 South. Your baby will probably be more active if you have recently eaten, so it's a good idea to have a snack or meal just prior to your visit.
Following is a description of the most common antepartum tests:
Non Stress Test (NST): The NST involves the use of a fetal monitor to record the fetal heart rate and uterine contractions. The fetal heart rate is observed for increases that occur when the baby moves.
Amniotic Fluid Index (AFI): The AFI involves the use of an ultrasound machine to scan the uterus and measure the amniotic fluid around the baby. The depth of the fluid pockets is measured externally with sound waves. These measurements indicate whether there is adequate fluid surrounding the baby.
Additional tests your doctor may order include:
Biophysical Profile (BPP): The BPP consists of observations made during your antepartum testing ultrasound and fetal monitoring. This test is usually performed only when additional information is needed. After performing the NST and AFI, we look at the baby under ultrasound to observe for various fetal movements. The BPP is a limited sonogram that assesses fetal well being and is not used to measure fetal size, determine gender or diagnose fetal conditions.
Breast Stimulation Stress Test (BSST): In this test, a fetal monitor is used to measure the fetal heart rate response to uterine contractions. The patient stimulates her contractions by applying warm towels to her breasts and either massaging or rolling her nipples. This causes a release of oxytocin, which produces mild contractions. By looking at the baby's heart rate response to the contractions, the adequacy of placental blood flow can be evaluated.
Oxytocin contraction stress test (OCT): When oxytocin is administered IV, it is called an oxytocin contraction stress test (OCT). The oxytocin stress test (OCT) is similar to the BSST except the fetal heart rate is evaluated for accelerations in response to contractions in response to oxytocin which will be administered through an intravenous infusion (IV) called Pitocin to produce contractions. The OCT may be used after a failed BSST or in place of the BSST if no spontaneous contractions are present prior to the test in order to verify if there are problems present.
Antepartum Testing Unit
Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento
5151 F. Street, 2 South
Sacramento, CA 95819
Tel. (916) 733-1049
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