What is the Apgar Score?

This is a universally used scoring system to assess the condition of a baby during the first few minutes after birth. Apgar scores are not used to diagnose problems; they are part of an overall assessment.

It is based on 5 criteria:

1. Activity and muscle tone
2. Pulse (heart rate)
3. Grimace response
4. Appearance (colour of the skin)
5. Respiration (breathing rate and effort)

The baby is rated from 0 – 2 on each of the five criteria, which means the highest possible score is 10. The tests will be carried out and rated 1 and 5 minutes after birth.

To score ‘2’ at 1/5 minutes your baby will need to show the following:

heart rate of more than or equal to 100 beats per minute (bpm)
respiratory effort should be strong or the baby should be crying
muscle tone should be active, arms and legs mobile but not limp
response stimulus they should cough or sneeze when stimulated
skin colour/complexion should be completely pink

As long as your baby is seen to be breathing the midwife will gently dry your baby while giving the baby to you for skin to skin contact in the first minute after birth. She can then assess the first Apgar score on the minute after birth and will look at the five signs and the degree to which they are present or absent. Of the five signs, the heart rate and respiratory effort are the most important. And you may like to know that a normal baby in good condition at birth will receive an Apgar score of 7-10.

If you would like more support and advice just get in touch with our Careline
on 0800 977 8880


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