Understanding Your Baby’s APGAR Score
The first time your baby is ever tested comes only one minute after birth. While this might sound far too young, the APGAR test can help doctors and healthcare professionals know if your baby is in need of immediate medical attention.
What Is The APGAR Test?
The APGAR test was developed in 1952 to rate a baby’s appearance, pulse, responsiveness, muscle activity, and breathing. It is now performed in all hospitals approximately one minute after birth and again at five minutes after birth. Babies are rated between 0 and 2, with 2 being the highest, in five separate categories for a maximum total score of 10. The score helps physicians understand the baby’s condition and health at birth and identify if life-saving medical care is required.
The five categories of the APGAR score include:
- Appearance – The first observation made during the APGAR test is of a baby’s skin color. Babies who are pale all over or exhibit a bluish-grey skin color are rated a 0, babies who have normal color but bluish hands and feet receive are rated a 1, and babies with pinkish skin all over are rated a 2.
- Pulse – A nurse or doctor will take a baby’s pulse, or heart rate, during the APGAR test. Babies with no pulse receive a 0, babies with fewer than 100 heartbeats per minute score 1, and babies with at least 100 heartbeats per minute score 2.
- Grimace – Also called reflex irritability, babies are scored based on their response to stimulation. Babies with no response receive 0, babies who only exhibit facial movement like a grimace receive 1, and babies who pull away, sneeze, cough, or cry with stimulation receive 2.
- Activity – Also referred to as muscle tone, this category rates newborn babies based on how much movement they exhibit in their arms and legs. Babies can have no movement (0), some movement (1), or active movement of their bodies (2).
- Respiration – Babies are finally graded on their ability to breathe and the effort it takes to do so. Babies not breathing are scored a 0, babies with irregular breathing and/or a weak cry receive a 1, and babies breathing at a normal rate with normal effort and a strong cry receive a 2.
A baby’s APGAR score from the first measure at approximately one minute after birth to the second measure at five minutes after birth can vary greatly. Just because a baby receives a low APGAR score on the first test doesn’t necessarily mean there is something seriously wrong with the baby. However, when a baby has a low APGAR score, it is up to doctors and other healthcare professionals to provide the needed care to child. If a doctor fails to provide needed care, it can cause birth injuries like hypoxia, cerebral palsy, and others.
Birth Injury Attorneys for Philadelphia Families
If you suspect your child suffered a birth injury, his or her APGAR scores will be crucial to understanding what happened. You need an attorney with the knowledge and resources to analyze your situation and prove fault. The experienced Philadelphia birth injury attorneys at Lopez McHugh LLP have helped scores of families receive compensation, and we can help you too. Call us today to schedule a free consultation.