The Apgar Test

When a baby is born he is given an Apgar test. The score is very helpful for later evaluations of the baby and is fun and interesting for parents to understand it.

When a baby is born he is given an Apgar score. It is kind of like the baby's first test! But what it really is an evaluation method devised by a Dr. Virginia Apgar and gives the general overall condition of your newborn within minutes of his birth. The score is very helpful for later evaluations of the baby and is fun and interesting for parents to understand it.

After you have a baby the doctor will give him or her an evaluation one minute after birth and again at five minutes after birth. The doctor will look at the general overall

condition of the baby and check 5 characteristics: color, respiration, heart rate, muscle tone and reflexes. The one minute score will indicate how well your baby experienced

the birthing process. If the score is high this will indicate that your baby should be fine during the postpartum process. A low score could indicate that your baby is at risk and will need further evaluations and extra care. The second score your baby gets five minutes after birth indicates how well your baby is handling life outside of the womb.

The Doctor will evaluate your baby's color. Two points will be given for a completely pink body. This indicates that oxygen is getting to every part of the body. One point will be given to a baby whose body is pink, but arms and legs are blue. Zero points will be given if the baby is blue or pale all over.

Evaluating respiratory effort is the next thing your Doctor will evaluate. Two points are given for a strong cry. A loud cry indicates that the baby is able to expand and clear his lungs and breathing will be vigorous. One point is given for a slow or weak cry. Zero points are given when the baby doesn't cry at all.



Heart Rate is monitored next. Your Doctor will give your baby a score of two for a heart rate of more than 100 beats per minute. A score of one point will be given for a heart

beat under 100 beats per minute. Zero points will be given when there is no heart beat at all.

The Doctor will evaluate your baby's muscle tone. Your baby will get two points for active vigorous motions. One point will be given for small flexing of the arms and legs.

Zero points are given for no movement.

An evaluation of the baby's reflexes are done. If your baby cries during this test a score of two will be given. A score of one is given if your baby grimaces. Zero points are given if reflexes are absent and no movement or sound is made by the baby.

The highest score a baby can get for these five tests is ten. But a score between eight and ten indicates your baby is in good condition. A lower score will alert the Doctor and staff to do more tests and keep a watchful eye on him.

To get your baby's Apgar score you usually have to ask the Doctor or nurse. Most people do not understand what the score means and therefore the numbers are meaningless. If you understand the score, you can then ask in what areas you baby did not get the two points. You will know what areas the Doctor is concerned about.

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