Since my 30 week appointment, I’ve had several non stress test appointments.
According to the Mayo Clinic, “During a nonstress test a baby’s heart rate is monitored to see how it responds to the baby’s movements. The term nonstress refers to the fact that nothing is done to place stress on the fetus during the test … The goal of a nonstress test is to provide useful information about your baby’s oxygen supply by checking his or her heart rate and how it responds to your baby’s movement. The test might indicate the need for further monitoring, testing, treatment or delivery to prevent fetal death.”
If you’ve never had one, here’s what it involves for twins.
First, I start with a mini ultrasound to check:
- the position of each baby and find their hearts for monitoring
- note their heart rates
- check for practice breathing
- measure the fluid of each sac
After the ultrasound, I sit in a reclining chair with my feet up and my belly tilting one way or the other depending on the position of the babies. Two straps used to place the monitors are placed behind me, then two pillows are placed on either side of me to keep me in position comfortably without using any effort on my part. Next, the nurses place monitors under the straps over each of the baby’s hearts and a third one randomly on my belly to monitor contractions. Last, but not least, they will take my blood pressure sometime during the appointment.
During the test, the babies need to be awake and need to have at least two movements during 15 minutes. If they’re sleeping, the nurses won’t get the results they need.
Do my babies cooperate every time? Not a chance.
So what do they do? To wake up the babies, several tactics are used.
- First, I’m asked to eat before I come in. This hasn’t proved effective and I might actually try not eating for the next appointment to see if it keeps them awake.
- Second, I’m asked to drink cold water super fast while in the recliner. This has been more effective than eating for sure.
- Third, the nurses will use a buzzer near the heads of the babies. Basically, it’s a handheld, loud, noise maker and the babies do not like it. However, it is is effective in waking them up.
My appointments last anywhere from 30 minutes to 1 1/2 hours, depending on whether or not the babies cooperate. For me, I find these appointments relaxing since I am able to see my babies, hear their heartbeats, and basically told to do nothing but relax for 15-20 minutes.