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Donna Balo41 Week NST, Ultrasound & Biophysical Profile - what to expect?
by Donna Harvel Balo ARNP, CNM, MS

Q. I am 41 weeks tomorrow. For all my planning for a natural birth, this afternoon I will be spending in the hospital for an NST and then an ultrasound. I am glad because perhaps all is well and I will just need to be patient. But I'm a bit nervous as the doctor who will be reading it is known for being rather conservative. I am just wondering what to expect at having an NST at 41 weeks.

A. The NST will be to see how the baby is tolerating life in utero; it is a good idea to have the NST at a time when you know the baby is active. The ultrasound will likely measure how much amniotic fluid is in there, so make sure you are well hydrated. Sometimes a biophysical profile is ordered (which is done as part of the ultrasound) which measures the baby's breathing movements, large and small motor movements, pockets of fluid, baby's heart rate and maybe the "grade" of the placenta.

The purpose of all of this is to make sure the baby is still doing well. The question is whether the baby is better off waiting for spontaneous labor, or better to be induced. Sometimes they say all looks well, come in twice a week to make sure all continues well.

There is a lot of pressure to have the babies born before a certain gestation. Some say 40 weeks, or 41 weeks or 42 weeks. Ask your provider what their limit is.

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