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What is the APGAR score for newborns?

Whether you are pregnant and learning all you can about childbirth or if you’ve recently delivered a baby, you may have heard of the APGAR Score. It sounds a little intimidating, but it’s simply a quick evaluation of newborns.

Medical professionals conduct the evaluation twice – one minute after birth and again at five minutes after birth – and is a quick way for medical professionals to determine if a baby appears healthy. If a newborn does not score well, further medical care may be necessary.

APGAR is an acronym for:

  • Appearance - Is the baby’s skin color a normal pinkish color all over, or do the baby’s hands and feet – or its entire body – have a blue or grey cast?
  • Pulse - What is the newborn’s pulse rate? If it’s 100 beats per minute, it is normal.
  • Grimace - We all remember our baby’s first cry, and we all know hearing it is a good sign. A newborn will typically cry, cough, or pull away when stimulated; a newborn who only makes a facial expression (a grimace) or has no response at all to stimulation may need additional care.
  • Activity - Are the baby’s arms and legs making spontaneous movements, or is there little to no movement and a general floppiness to the limbs?
  • Respiration - Is the baby breathing regularly and crying, or is the baby’s breathing slow or shallow and the crying weak or nonexistent?

How does the APGAR score work?

A doctor or nurse will rate the newborn between zero and two for each of the items listed above, with two being the best possible score. A perfect APGAR Score would be 10; however, healthy newborns generally score a seven or above.

What does a low APGAR score mean?

The test is not indicative of any future health issues your newborn might face, though there is a potential correlation between a low APGAR score and an increased risk of disability. According to the National Institutes Of Health, newborns who receive a low score on the five-minute test may have an increased risk of cerebral palsy (CP).

CP is sometimes caused by a birth injury that may have been preventable. As a parent, you likely agree that no doctor’s negligence is an acceptable cause for a child missing out on the opportunity to run and play with their friends due to a lack of muscular strength and coordination.

There are therapies and assistive devices available for children with CP, though their associated lifetime costs are often astronomical. If you believe a lack of medical attention is to blame for your child’s low APGAR score, you might choose to seek recourse to help provide for the needs of your child.

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Law Offices of Raymond J. Slomski, P.C.

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