Choice of antenatal testing significantly effects a patient's work obligations

J Perinatol. 2008 Feb;28(2):102-6. doi: 10.1038/ Epub 2007 Nov 29.


Objective: We sought to compare two approaches to antenatal testing for their impact on the workforce.

Study design: This is a prospective observational study of women who presented for antenatal testing. All women were given a survey upon presentation. As per hospital protocol, nonstress testing (NST) was performed semiweekly and biophysical profile (BPP) was performed weekly. The choice of testing was determined by the attending physician. chi2- and Student's t-tests were performed where appropriate. A P-value of <0.05 was considered significant.

Result: A total of 195 women were surveyed. Among them, 94 women had an NST and 101 had a BPP. Overall, 59.2% were multiparous, 33.1% had to arrange for child care and 97.2% felt reassured by the testing. There were no differences in demographic characteristics, education, type of insurance or employment status between the groups. Women who had NSTs were more likely to lose time from work than those who had BPPs (218.4 versus 68.9 min; P<0.001). Of the women who had semiweekly NSTs, 80.6% would have preferred weekly testing. If the 94 women who received semiweekly testing had weekly testing, a total of 534.4 h would have been available for the workforce.

Conclusion: Twice-weekly NST results in a significant increase in time lost from the workforce compared with weekly BPP.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Amniotic Fluid
  • Employment*
  • Female
  • Fetal Monitoring / methods*
  • Heart Rate, Fetal
  • Humans
  • Occupational Health
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Care / methods*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Time