Antenatal Testing Center
Antenatal testing is used to evaluate fetal well-being and placenta function in certain pregnancies. Your provider may recommend this testing if you have diabetes, hypertension (high blood pressure), an overdue pregnancy or advanced maternal age.
Specially trained registered nurses perform the tests using a fetal monitor and ultrasound. The tests are comfortable and safe, and are usually repeated at intervals to monitor the baby's well-being over time. Most patients are seen once or twice a week.
At the UCSF Antenatal Testing Center, we're committed to providing excellent care in a tranquil atmosphere, to help you feel relaxed and reassured.
The two main tests provided at the Antenatal Testing Center are the nonstress test (NST) and the amniotic fluid index (AFI). Together, they're called a modified biophysical profile (MBPP).
Nonstress Test (NST)
The NST is a method of assessing fetal well-being by observing the fetal heart rate response to fetal movement. A fetal monitor is used, so two small monitor parts will be fastened around your abdomen with soft belts. These parts are attached by cords to a monitor that records contractions and fetal heart rate. Your nurse will explain further and answer any questions during the test.
Amniotic Fluid Index (AFI)
An AFI uses an ultrasound machine to scan the uterus and measure the depth of fluid pockets. These measurements determine whether there's enough amniotic fluid around the baby. You'll be able to observe your baby during the ultrasound. The nurses will review the findings with you after the exam.
Biophysical Profile (BPP)
A BPP is usually done only if more information is needed following the modified BPP. It's a five-part test that uses the fetal monitor and ultrasound to evaluate the NST and AFI, and the breathing movements, body movements and muscle tone of the fetus. The test is scored and will determine whether additional testing or evaluation is needed. The nurse will discuss the test with you and answer any questions you have.
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Plan your visit
What to Bring
- Photo I.D.
- Health insurance card
- Insurance authorization, if required
- Doctor's referral, if required
- Recent test results related to your condition
- List of your medications, including dosages, plus any you're allergic to
- List of questions you may have
- Device or paper for taking notes
If you live in another country and are coming to UCSF for medical
treatment, our patient liaisons can help coordinate all aspects of your visit.
UCSF offers language services at no charge for patients with limited
English, as well as for patients who are deaf or have trouble hearing.
Checking into the hospital? Find helpful information by clicking on the relevant “Your Hospital Stay” booklet: Mission Bay, Parnassus or Mount
Your Doctor Visit
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Prenatal Diagnostic Center
1825 Fourth St., Third Floor
San Francisco, CA 94158