Health Library

Health Library

Biophysical Profile (BPP)

What is a biophysical profile (BPP)?

A biophysical profile (BPP) is a test that combines a nonstress test with ultrasound to check the health of the fetus. A nonstress test (NST) 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 fetus. Biophysical profile testing is usually performed in the last trimester of pregnancy.

There are five parts to a biophysical profile:

  • The nonstress test

Plus four areas assessed by ultrasound:

  • Fetal breathing movements

  • Fetal movements

  • Fetal tone

  • Amniotic fluid volume

How is a biophysical profile performed?

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

  • 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.

What is a modified biophysical profile?

Another type of BPP is sometimes performed. The modified BPP combines the nonstress test and an evaluation of the amount of amniotic fluid called the amniotic fluid index (AFI). The largest  pocket of amniotic fluid is measured in each of the four quadrants of the mother's abdomen using ultrasound. All four quadrants added together give the amniotic fluid index.

Biophysical Profile (BPP) - WellSpan Health

Online Medical Reviewer: Bowers, Nancy, RN, BSN, MPH
Online Medical Reviewer: newMentor board-certified, academically affiliated clinician
© 2014 WellSpan Health. All Rights Reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.

Are you sure you would like to cancel?

All information will be lost.

Yes No ×

About the provider search

This search will provide you with WellSpan Medical Group and Northern Lancaster County (Ephrata) Medical Group primary care physicians and specialists. If we don’t have a WellSpan Medical Group physician to meet your criteria, the search will expand to include community physicians who partner with WellSpan Medical Group physicians through the WellSpan Provider Network or provide care to patients on the Medical Staffs of WellSpan’s Hospitals.

×