A healthy baby's heart rate will rise from time to time. During the NST, your doctor will watch to see if the baby's heart rate goes faster while resting or moving. You will receive no medicines for this test.
If the baby's heart rate does not go up on its own, you may be asked to rub your hand over your belly. This may wake up a sleepy baby. A device may also be used to send a noise into your belly. It will not cause any pain.
You will be hooked up to a fetal monitor, which is a heart monitor for your baby. If the baby's heart rate goes up from time to time, the test results will most likely be normal. NST results that are reactive mean that the baby's heart rate went up normally.
Non-reactive results mean that the baby's heart rate did not go up enough. If the heart rate does not go up enough, you may need more tests.
Another term you might hear for this test result is a categorization of 1, 2, or 3.
- Category 1 means the result is normal.
- Category 2 means further observation or testing is necessary.
- Category 3 typically means your doctor will recommend delivery right away.