Non-Stress Test

Fetal monitoring readout
photo credit: Telstar Logistics via photo pin cc

I had the fetal non-stress test today. Basically it is just checking to see if there are any potential problems for the baby since I am past-due. If the test is “reactive” then I’m sent home and go to my follow-up appointment tomorrow as usual. If the test is non-reactive, I’m directed straight to labor and delivery.

My test was reactive… I was sent home. To go back to working. Yeah! πŸ™‚

I had to go to a different office (I go to an office with OBs and midwives in offices around the whole Vegas valley) to see an RN that specializes in administering these tests. I had to sit in a big recliner where she did another ultrasound to check the amniotic fluid levels (11.6 = normal). Then I rolled onto my side and they hooked me up to a machine that monitors the baby’s heart rate and my contractions for about 20-30 minutes. While monitoring this the nurse explained a whole bunch of things, several of which were new to both of us and some were new to just Kevin. (He hasn’t researched anything about pregnancy.)

The nurse explained the differing levels of dilation and effacement. She said that dilation of 1 is about 1 fingertip snugly through the cervix and a 3 is about 2 fingertips kind of loosely. She showed that effacement is about two finger widths and by the time a woman is fully effaced the cervix is about as thin as a piece of paper. I roughly knew this stuff, but not necessarily how much effacement changes.

She also explained the 5-1-1 rule. Contractions are five minutes apart, lasting at least 1 minute in length for at least 1 hour. (Some places go with different rules like 4-1 or 3-1… since I live within a mile of the hospital where I’m delivering I guess I could probably let them be closer together.)

One thing about my midwife, she’s super nice but she talks really fast and assumes that I know a lot about pregnancy. (I guess most women read more about pregnancy than I do because they care more. I preferred to read books about running or novels! They’ll stick with me for more of my life.) While hooked up to the machine, my contractions were definitely in the 5-1 category, but I wasn’t hooked up for an entire hour so they couldn’t observe that last part of the equation.

Kevin said he had no idea my contractions were that consistent. I didn’t know I was supposed to complain about them!

The contractions have been about the same for 3 weeks now. They’re not super painful, just uncomfortable.Β So I feel a little bit like I shouldn’t go to the hospital because even though I feel these contractions regularly, it’s nothing like what I assume labor should be like. (Because overly dramatic television/movie examples are a really great way to judge, I’m sure.) I figured if I had intense pain I was supposed to go to the hospital.Β And based on my appointment last week, it’s not like they would have indicated much more than having contractions… no dilation or anything.

So anyway, that’s where we’re at right now. I have a follow-up appointment tomorrow, where I was supposed to have made a decision on that creepy balloon induction. I don’t want that, especially if the dilation situation hasn’t changed at all.

I’m not really worried about being “abnormal” or anything. I’m just tired carrying this belly weight around and I’m really tired of the constant stream of “Well, what’s happening?” messages. I appreciate that people care, but there are really way too many channels of communication right now!


  1. I had no clue I was having contractions with number two… Barely knew my water broke. Each kid is different. I agree on the extra weight…. Couldn’t wait to breathe again. Baby will come at the right time. I could tease you and say… The Lord is just giving you a hard time so you hold your baby and the tears come, you will just realize it was all worth it.

  2. sounds like you’re doin all the right things! and I wouldnt do the creepy balloon thing either, because I have sooo much experience haha. stay tough girl and keep reading the fun running books:)

  3. Need more pie!! πŸ™‚ Reading this makes me think I wouldn’t know I was having a contraction. I’d chalk it up to some random pain myself. Hopefully labor will be more obvious, but not super painful of course.

  4. Because of hypertension, I had non-stress tests every couple of weeks for months of my pregnancy with E…or was it a couple of times a week? I think at the end, it was actually twice weekly. It was a huge PITA. I was really glad when I didn’t have to do that anymore!

    Hang in there, not long now…

    • They informed me at my test that women 35 and older get a weekly NST from week 32 or so on, until week 37 or 38 when it’s twice a week. So if I do this pregnancy stuff again… I’m guaranteed to get a bunch more of them, which sucks because… well, they’re a time-suck!

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