Apgar Score

Apgar score is the name given to the test given to the newborn baby very shortly after childbirth. The test is done either in the delivery room or in an adjacent room to find out the physical condition of the baby. The first baby test was developed by Virginia Apgar, an anesthesiologist in 1950 and hence the name.

A stands for Appearance, P stands for pulse, G stands for grimace, A stands for activity and R for respiration. These are vital signs to show that the newborn is hale and healthy. For some babies the test is repeated twice if the baby’s condition while testing for first time is poor. The rating is given for each factor and the baby will get 2 if it is best at one particular factor.

Essential information can be gathered by Apgar score test. From the appearance test, the skin color of the baby is determined. The doctor would check for rash or any type of blisters on the skin. From the pulse test, the nurse will find out the heart beat to rule out any anomalies like heart disease. The grimace test is done for monitoring the reflex nature of the baby. From the activity test, the child’s metabolism and muscle tone is ascertained and finally from the respiration the baby’s effort for breathing is determined.

Getting low score in Apgar test does not mean that the child is not having good health. Many babies will not show a perfect score if it is taken in the first 5 minutes after birth. It takes some time for the baby to adjust to the new environment separating from the uterus of the mother.

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