Everything You Need to Know about the Apgar Scoring System

The Apgar scale is a very simple, yet efficient way to test a newborn’s vital functions. Doctors perform the test immediately after the birth to check the vitals of the baby. You may feel threatened by the fact that you don’t know anything about the scale and what the test scores mean. Preparing in advance will give you much-needed information to ensure your peace of mind.

The Apgar scoring system is used to evaluate basic physiological performance immediately after the baby is born. The saying that some of the simplest things are most brilliant is demonstrated through Apgar testing. While this methodology was developed quite a long time ago, it still happens to be one of the essentials utilized to check a newborn’s health.

How Babies Receive Apgar Evaluation

Once a mother gives birth, medics examine the baby almost immediately. Doctors will perform the Apgar scoring system test during the first minute of life and repeat it after five minutes. The factors examined are given a numerical value to determine whether the baby needs any medical assistance.

To perform the Apgar test, a medic needs to examine the baby’s skin color, heartbeat, breathing, muscle tone and reflexes. A grade is provided after the examination of each one of these essentials.

The medics will assign anywhere between zero and five points to each factor. All of the scores are added together to produce the final Apgar number. The maximum Apgar score a baby will receive is eight to 10 points. A lower score will be indicative of some kind of problem that will need to be addressed as soon as possible.

The Apgar Scoring System Explained

An Apgar test score of seven or more points means that the baby is in good health. If the Apgar varies between four and six during the first minute of life, the baby needs insignificant medical assistance. Most often, the doctor has to clear the baby’s respiratory passage to bring up the Apgar score.

Babies having an Apgar score below four points demand lifesaving medical procedures.

It is common for the baby’s Apgar score to be quite low during the first minute and above seven points five minutes later. A second Apgar score confirming the low value will demand additional testing.

The first Apgar evaluation allows doctors to find out more about the health of the baby at the moment of birth. Additional tests during the fifth, 10th and 30th minutes provides realistic indications of the baby’s adaptation to life outside the womb.

Medics believe that a cause for concern exists if the Apgar score remains below four even after the 10th minute of life.  Parents should keep in mind that even if the test value is low, the baby has a significant chance of recovery after it receives the appropriate medical treatment.

History and Development of the Apgar Scoring System

Apgar testing came into existence back in 1952. Doctor Virginia Apgar wanted to come up with a very simple and quick method that will provide medics with information instantly after birth.

Apgar was an anesthesiologist. She came up with the test to evaluate the manner in which anesthesia usage affected newborn babies.

Appearance, Pulse, Grimace, Activity and Respiration are the five vital factors examined. As you’ve guessed already, the Apgar name is a mnemonic. It helps medical students remember the essential vitals to examine.