A Baby’s First Assessment: The APGAR Score

After your baby is born, doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals perform a quick examination and provide an APGAR score. The score is usually determined one minute after birth and repeated at five minutes after birth. On occasion, a ten-minute score is given, too.

The one-minute APGAR test

At one minute after birth, a baby is scored on each of the following factors:

A baby receives a score of between zero and two for each factor. The highest score a baby may receive on the APGAR test is a 10, but a “perfect score” is actually rare. In fact, a score of 7 or above generally indicates that only standard post-delivery care is required.

Scoring is completed as follows:

-Blue or pale

-Good body color; hands or feet are blue

-Pink or otherwise good color

-No heart rate is detected

-Heart rate is less than 100 beats per minute

-Heart rate is more than 100 beats per minute

-No response when airways are stimulated

-The baby grimaces during the stimulation

-The baby grimaces and sneezes or coughs during the stimulation

-The baby is limp

-The baby flexes the arms and legs a bit

-The baby is active

-The baby is not breathing

-The baby’s cries are weak, like grunting or whimpering

-The baby has a strong cry

If a baby scores between four and six, medical professionals may need to provide some medical intervention. If a baby scores under four, immediate, lifesaving steps may be required.

The five-minute APGAR score

If resuscitation was required during the one-minute test, the baby is reassessed at the five-minute mark to determine if additional intervention is required. At this point, a score of less than seven requires additional testing—every five minutes for twenty minutes.

What if my baby scores low on the APGAR score?

If your baby’s APGAR test was concerning at birth, it does not necessarily mean that your baby is doomed to a life of health problems. To the contrary, most babies who score below normal on the APGAR test turn out completely healthy. They just need a little extra help when they are born. In fact, lower scores are common in the following situations:

In some cases, however, a baby’s APGAR score may provide important clues into the moments following birth. For example, in birth injury claims , the APGAR test may be referenced to determine if doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals took the appropriate steps to address any signs of distress.

At The Eisen Law Firm, we advocate for injured babies and their mothers

The attorneys at the Eisen Law Firm possess years of experience in birth injury claims and hold doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals accountable when their negligence injures innocent babies. To schedule a free consultation to discuss your claim, call 216-687-0900 or contact us online.