Three hundred thirty-seven high-risk pregnancies were screened using a modified biophysical profile consisting of nonstress testing (NST) and ultrasound evaluation of amniotic fluid volume. Ultrasound assessment of fetal breathing and body movements was performed only to evaluate the nonreactive NST. Decreased amniotic fluid volume and spontaneous fetal heart rate (FHR) decelerations were considered abnormal findings during antenatal testing, and served as indications for delivery regardless of FHR reactivity. Despite intervention, decreased amniotic fluid volume and spontaneous decelerations were associated with an increased incidence of meconium staining, decelerations during labor, cesarean section for fetal distress, and small for gestational age infants. Perinatal morbidity also occurred in patients with spontaneous decelerations and normal amniotic fluid volume. The search for spontaneous FHR decelerations by electronic fetal monitoring should continue during antepartum testing because FHR decelerations cannot be identified by conventional ultrasound assessment. The modified profile seems practical for routine assessment of fetal well-being in high-risk pregnancy, and affords insights unavailable with ultrasound surveillance alone.
© 1988 The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists