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Nonstress Test for Pregnancy

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jun 5, 2024.

What do I need to know about a nonstress test?

A nonstress test measures your baby's heart rate and movements. Nonstress means that no stress will be placed on your baby during the test.

How do I prepare for a nonstress test?

Your healthcare provider will talk to you about how to prepare for this test. Your provider may tell you to eat and drink plenty of liquids before your test. If you smoke, you may be asked not to smoke within 2 hours before the test. Your provider will also tell you which medicines to take or not take on the day of your test.

What will happen during a nonstress test?

You may be asked to lie down or recline back for the test on a bed. One or 2 belts with sensors will be placed around your abdomen. Your baby's heart rate will be recorded with a machine. If your baby does not move, your baby may be asleep. Your healthcare provider may make a noise near your abdomen to try to wake your baby. The test usually takes about 20 minutes, but can take longer if your baby needs to be awakened.

Pregnancy Nonstress Test

What do I need to know about the test results?

Your baby will be expected to move at least 2 times for a certain amount of time. Your baby's heart rate will be expected to go up by a certain number of beats per minute during movement. If your baby does not move as expected, the test may need to be repeated or you may need other tests.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.