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An Apgar score is a general measure of a baby’s health at birth. It measures things like:

  • Heart rate
  • Breathing
  • Color
  • Reflexes
  • Muscle tone

Each category is assigned a score ranging from zero to two. The scores are then added together to give a range between zero and ten. A score of zero means a baby has no signs of life. A score of above seven is generally considered ideal. The score is recorded at 1 and 5 minutes after birth in all infants, and continues to be taken at five minute intervals in newborns who are struggling. In between moments 1 and 5, the delivery team stimulates and supports the infant in order to improve her wellness. As a result, the 5 minute score is a representation of the infant’s response to intervention.

Many factors influence a newborn’s Apgar score, such as gestational age, circumstances surrounding delivery, and anesthesia use during delivery. In addition, the Apgar is not an indication of perinatal asphyxia, nor can it predict the neurologic outcome of an infant unless it remains zero well past the 5-minute mark.

Takeaways

  • The APGAR score is taken immediately after delivery.
  • APGAR scores measure signs of vitality and health in newborns.
  • In struggling infants, they are taken every 5 minutes to track progress.
  • APGAR scores range from 0 to 10.

References

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. APGAR Score Committee Opinion.

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