The Apgar Score


What is an Apgar score? An Apgar score is a quick way for caregivers to see how your newborn is doing right after birth. A newborn's Apgar score is checked at one minute and five minutes after birth. The newborn's Apgar score may also be checked at 10 minutes, and even up to 20 minutes after birth. Newborns are checked for A ppearance (skin color), P ulse (heartbeat), G rimace (reflexes), A ctivity (muscles), and R espirations (breathing).

When is an Apgar score used? The Apgar score describes the health of a newborn right after birth. Caregivers use the Apgar score to help guide them in caring for the newborn right after birth. The score tells caregivers if a newborn needs special care, such as extra oxygen.

How is the Apgar score used? When caregivers check your newborn, they look at the parts of the test below, and give each part a score between zero and two. The Apgar score is the total of these numbers. The lowest score is zero and the highest score is 10.

What are the limitations of the Apgar score?

What other tests may be used with the Apgar score? Your caregiver finds out how many weeks you were pregnant when you give birth. Your caregiver weighs your newborn right after birth. The doctor may test the blood in your newborn's umbilical cord. This is the cord that connects an unborn baby to the placenta (nutrient supplier) inside your body. For more information about other tests, ask your newborn's caregiver.

What does a high Apgar score mean for my newborn baby? A newborn with an Apgar score of seven or higher is often healthy. This means that the newborn is pink, crying, moving his arms and legs, and has a regular heartbeat.

What does a low Apgar score mean for my newborn baby?

Where can I find more information about Apgar scores?


You have the right to help plan your baby's care. Learn about your baby's health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your baby's caregivers to decide what care you want for your baby. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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