Biophysical profile


A biophysical profile is a test that combines a non-stress test with ultrasound. A non-stress test measures the fetal heart rate in response to the movements of the fetus. An ultrasound is a diagnostic technique that uses high-frequency sound waves to create an image of the internal organs. Biophysical profile testing is usually performed in the last trimester of pregnancy.

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Parts of the test

There are five parts to a biophysical profile:

  • The non-stress test
  • Four areas assessed by ultrasound:
    • fetal breathing movements
    • fetal movements
    • fetal tone
    • amniotic fluid volume


Each of the five areas of the biophysical profile has a possible total score of two points, for a total of 10 points.

  • Eight to ten is usually considered normal.
  • Six is considered equivocal (uncertain).
  • Four or less is considered abnormal.

If the score is questionable or abnormal, or if the amniotic fluid volume is too low, additional testing may be needed.