Apgar Score: What is it?

As Adoption STAR readies itself for it’s upcoming series of Home Study classes (for more information on these classes visit our Calendar of Events), we define a standard procedural test that is done at the time of birth – The Apgar Score.

One of the first things our prospective adoptive parents learn in our Child Interest Class is what an Apgar Score is. Here is a brief synopsis for you!

Apgar score was developed in 1952 by an anesthesiologist named Virginia Apgar, and is now known best for its acronym: Appearance, Pulse, Grimace, Activity, and Respiration. The Apgar score is typically given to a newborn twice: once at 1 minute after birth, and again at 5 minutes after birth. If there are concerns about the baby’s condition or the score at 5 minutes is very low, a score may be taken for a third time at 10 minutes after birth.

Five factors are used to evaluate the baby’s condition and each factor is scored on a scale of 0 to 2, with 2 being the best score:

  • Appearance (skin coloration)
  • Pulse (heart rate)
  • Grimace response (medically known as “reflex irritability”)
  • Activity and muscle tone
  • Respiration (breathing rate and effort)

The Apgar is based on a total score of 1 to 10. The higher the score, the better the baby is doing after birth. A score of 7, 8, or 9 is normal and is a sign that the newborn is in good condition. A score of 10 is not very common, since almost all newborns lose 1 point for coloring. A score lower than 7 maybe a sign that the newborn needs medical attention. The lower the score, the more help the baby may need to adjust to being outside the womb.

Most of the time a lower Apgar score is caused a difficult birth or c-section or fluid in the baby’s airway. Newborns with low Apgar scores may receive oxygen and aspiration to clear out the airway to assist with breathing, stimulation to get the heart beating at a healthier rate. It is important to know that a low Apgar score does not mean a child will have serious or long-term health problems, though it can be a warning sign. The Apgar score is also not designed to predict the future health of the child.

Visit our Calendar of Events to find out when and where the next series of Home Study Classes will be.

Read More about Adoption Education: Obtaining Educational Credits, Adoptive Parent Adoption Education (Home Study Classes), Agency Assisted Private Adoption, Podcast Series, Heart of the Matter Seminars, Adoption Laws in your state

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