When a pregnant woman is coming closer to the final stages of her pregnancy, she may be subjected to certain tests to test her child’s viability for her to undergo the normal delivery.
There are some possible tests that may be done including non-stress and stress tests. 41 weeks pregnant stress test is done to measure the heart rate of the baby at the time of uterine contractions.
Its main purpose is to ensure that the baby can obtain oxygen he/she requires from the placenta at the time of labor. This stress test is generally done at the very final stages of pregnancy, before an induction.
Stress test is also called as oxytocin challenge test or contraction stress test. It is done at the time of pregnancy to see the baby’s response to the stress of contractions at the time of labor. These days contraction stress test is done rarely for diverse reasons. In most of the cases, the doctors are able to judge the baby safely and quickly using nonstress test or biophysical profile or both.
At the time of contractions, the oxygen and blood flow to the placenta slows down temporarily. If the placenta is in a healthy state, it possesses additional stores of blood to supply the baby with the required oxygen after or at the time of a contraction. But if the mother’s placenta is not functioning properly, the baby will not obtain sufficient oxygen and the baby’s heartbeat will be more slow after a contraction.
This stress test is more expensive, risky and cumbersome than other identical tests, so it is not done often anymore. But if there is any high risk of pregnancy, your doctor might suggest it.
The stress test is done anywhere from 38th week to 42nd week of pregnancy. This test is done by using the following procedure.
- The pregnant woman is laid down on the table, in the supine position.
- To her, the fetal monitoring setup will be attached.
- A synthetic oxytocin dose will be given.
- By using this fetal monitor, the baby’s movement will be traced as the contractions take place.
- At the end of this test, the doctor will determine the best option of delivery, that is caesarian or normal delivery.
- If the heartbeat of your baby does not slow down to your contractions, it indicates that the baby is probably doing well. This is known as a negative or normal result. In such case, you will either have this test again in a week or you will wait for the natural delivery.
- If the heartbeats of your baby are slower even after more than the half of your contractions, the result will be positive, which indicates that your baby might be under stress. In such case, your doctor may suggest immediate delivery, either by cesarean or by inducing labor.
This test is reliable when it signifies that everything is ok, but not that much reliable when it signifies that there may be a difficulty.