What exactly is a NST?

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angielily's picture
Last seen: 4 years 11 months ago
Joined: 03/11/03
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What exactly is a NST?

I don't recall ever having had one with Clara & I haven't had one yet...what is the point of a NST? What do they do? I thought it was for babies who were at term or overdue?

mujul79's picture
Last seen: 2 years 2 weeks ago
Joined: 01/22/05
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I have only had one after going over due. After my dates with my others since we where VBAC'ing and can't induce we did the NST to check that baby was still doing well every 3 days starting at 40 weeks. Once a NST did not go well so we had a BBP US for Tessa and since that went fine they let me keep going. She was born at 41 weeks and 1 day.

For me it was like the 20 min strip they hook you up to when you first go to the hospital in labor. And also pee in a cup and my BP.

I too saw some of the girls here are starting them at like 34 weeks and I'm not sure why. I am not even at weekly visits yet since this is baby #4 and I have no history of high BP but I do have a history of going over I don't think we expect anything to change in the next few weeks for me. I start going weekly for visits 39, 40 and 41. OB has not even said he will do a NST at 40 weeks this time.

But some of this may be because of my son's health history I have had an US at every visit, to check his hart, kidney, brain every 4 weeks and now every 2 so we are not expecting any shocking news at delivery.

grovey2's picture
Last seen: 1 year 9 months ago
Joined: 04/08/08
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NST- non stress test. For me, since i am a high risk pregnancy, i will get mine weekly until i give birth, along with a biophysical. With high risk pregnancies, i think they start them at like 32-34 wks. My Dr is starting mine next week, i'll be a day shy of 35wks. So, i go in, they strap a moniter on my belly and they are moniter baby and it's heartrate. Then i go for an ultrasound and they check her heart, lungs, reflexes and aminiotic fluid levels. Basically they want to see that baby is not 'stressed'. Most pregnancies don't get these....

Last seen: 4 years 6 months ago
Joined: 03/15/07
Posts: 187

The nst's I go to do a quick ultrasound the measure amniotic fluid, watch for 30 seconds of practicing breathing, and watch for a certain number of movements. Then they put me an a contraction monitor and heart rate monitor. He has to have 2 accelerations of his heart rate up 15 beats per minutes for at least 10 seconds before going back to his baseline. They monitor for at least 20 minutes, more if he's no being cooperative in moving.

They do them to make sure the baby isn't under any stress due a variety of pregnancy issues: too much or too little amniotic fluid, gd, pre-e, and high blood pressure are the ones I know of.

They also check my urine and take my bp.

akpufa's picture
Last seen: 3 years 1 week ago
Joined: 01/31/08
Posts: 3078

I never had any with either pregnancy either. I think some doctors are more prone to using them than others. My close friend had to start getting them because her baby wasn't as active as they'd like & they wanted to make sure he was doing okay. At 37 weeks, his NST wasn't great and they did a u/s to find out his fluid was really low so it was a good thing they were watching it (although she probably would have noticed WAY less movement too but you never know!). So with her 2nd pregnancy, they automatically had her doing them the last 2 months-ish.

MrsHooah2U's picture
Last seen: 4 years 11 months ago
Joined: 01/07/08
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Mine are from high risk also.

Tuesday's they monitor me & her for 20 minutes, granted she plays nicely (contrax/hb), I have to push a little clicker when she moves, they take my BP's every 5 minutes, and draw blood work. I also turn in my 24 hour urine jug and they have that tested before I leave.
(the reason I do the BP's and urine is for the PIH and pre-e: not everyone will do that)

Friday's same thing as far as the monitors, but they don't do blood or urine and I have an ultrasound done instead. They check for fluid levels.

My doctor started them at 34 weeks with DD and I think 33-34 I had them with DS (but he only went to 37 weeks). With DS it was the same things too.

There are a variety of reasons why people do the NST's. Some of the girls who are in there are overdue, others have complications. For us, if you have lack of fetal movement, you'd go to NST. Also, people that didn't have a good OB appointment (like myself, my BP's were too high in office) they will sometimes get sent up to just do a quickie since our offices just don't have the 'time' to let you sit there and be monitored for 20+ minutes and based off that they will decide if you need to see them regularly. For me, they just set me up regularly due to all my complications past and present.

isuche02's picture
Last seen: 4 years 1 month ago
Joined: 10/08/08
Posts: 1122

I have them twice a week because I am having twins and because I have GD.

Like others have said, I have a monitor on each babies heart to measure heart rates and one on my uterus to measure contractions. It is the same monitor you are hooked up to when you go to L&D. They check to make sure the baby is active (heart rate increasing) and make sure I am not having regular, intense contractions. If the babies behave it takes about 20 mintues.

I also have u/s every 4 weeks and weekly OB appts.