by Scholten A

Biophysical Profile (BPP)

The biophysical profile combines ultrasound with the nonstress test as an assessment of the physical health of the fetus. The ultrasound creates images of the fetus and the womb. A nonstress test monitors the heartbeat of the fetus.
These tests are done late in pregnancy as the fetus matures. The following information is typically gathered:
  • The amount of amniotic fluid (ultrasound)
  • Fetal heart rate (nonstress test)
  • Fetal breathing (ultrasound)
  • Fetal body movement (ultrasound)
  • Fetal muscle tone (ultrasound)
Each factor assessed in the biophysical profile is assigned a numerical score based on the findings. A total numerical score is also determined. The score may be used by your doctor to determine if special care and certain adjustments are needed during your pregnancy and delivery.

Who Should Undergo This Test?

Your doctor may recommend this test, as well as other tests, if you have a medical condition that could put you at risk for having problems with your pregnancy. Examples of conditions that could put you and your baby at risk include:
Your doctor may suggest other tests to gather important information about the health of your fetus. A problematic test result often suggests that you need special care. It does not necessarily mean that your fetus is in trouble. Your doctor will be able to answer questions and discuss any concerns you have about this form of monitoring.


The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists

American Academy of Family Physicians


Baby Center

Women's Health Matters


Biophysical Profile. American Pregnancy Association website. Available at: Updated August 2006. Accessed December 11, 2012.

Complicated Pregnancy. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: Updated November 30, 2012. Accessed December 11, 2012.

Prenatal Care and Tests. United States Department of Health and Human Services Women's Health website. Available at: Updated September 27, 2012. Accessed December 11, 2012.

Screening and Monitoring During Pregnancy. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: Updated November 28, 2012. Accessed December 11, 2012.

Revision Information

Health Library Search

Only show results from the selected categories.

1 Bladder Control During Pregnancy lifestyle - women's health
6 Reducing Foodborne Risks During Pregnancy lifestyle - women's health

It is important to eat a healthy diet while you are pregnant. In addition to focusing on what you should be eating, you also need to be aware of the foods you should avoi...

It’s finally happened. You’re pregnant! But you’re also exhausted—maybe more exhausted than you’ve ever been in your life. And to make matters worse, you can’t sleep like...

Pregnant women need to take certain precautions to protect themselves and their unborn children against household hazards. Read here to find out what some of the risks ar...

We now know that pregnancy is not your ticket to the all-you-can-eat buffet. Read on to find out how you can get the nutrients you and your baby need without gaining to...

Alcohol can cause birth defects with long-term consequences. What could happen to your baby if you drink alcohol during pregnancy? And why?...

11 Rh Explained lifestyle - women's health

Are you Rh positive or negative? And what about your partner? If babies are in your future, you'll want to find out. Here's why....

12 Weight Gain During Pregnancy therapeutic center
13 Ultrasound Exams therapeutic center
15 Managing Symptoms of Pregnancy therapeutic center

You may have prepared yourself for stretch marks, but did you know about all the other skin changes pregnancy can cause? Fortunately, many are temporary....

Miscarriages and genetic defects are more common in pregnant women over age 40. Here's what you can do to increase your chances of delivering a healthy baby....