What is an Apgar Score?

Apgar Score is your newborn’s first test. The Apgar Score is a grading done 1 minute after birth and a second time 5 minutes after birth. The score assesses your baby’s physical abilities to ensure they won’t need further medical care/guidance  and that there won’t be any issues in the baby’s maturity.

Apgar Score Test Chart

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How is it Performed?

It’s a very simple examination. There’s no need to be concerned for the parents who wonder what is being done during an Apgar Score.  It’s a harmless test to ensure baby’s safe adaptation to his/her life.

They check 5 elements and give 2 points for each if all is well. They test baby’s muscle tone (Activity) by checking the arms and legs for standard movements. They test the baby’s reflexes by putting a finger in his/her hands to see if the baby will hold (this is natural reflex for the baby to Grasp). They check the baby’s heart rate (Pulse). The pulse should be over 100 beats per minute in order to not raise any concern. They test the baby’s irritability (Grimace). They observe the baby’s overall skin color, it should have a healthy pinkish color to it (Appearance). They inspect the baby’s breathing (Respiration) by watching him/her cry. If baby can not take a deep breath before crying they can detect further examination to see if there are any respiratory problems.



What’s the Purpose of the Apgar Score?

The purpose of the Apgar Score is to ensure your baby will have no difficulty surviving on his/her own. The Apgar Score is a simple assessment that can determine if there are any signs that lead to a serious health problems.


Is it necessary?

It’s very simple test and very useful to determine the well being of the baby. If the score comes out lower than 5 it means baby’s life is at risk. It has no cost and is a very easy inspection test that could save a life. It’s the first test of life and widely accepted by maternity care givers.


Written by:
Tina I Ureten MD, RDMS, RDCS