Apgar Test

What is the Apgar test?

The Apgar test is the physical examination performed on the newborn within the first minute after birth and in the fifth minute.

What does the Apgar test consist of?

It consists of examining five aspects of the baby and scoring each section:

  • Respiratory effort: if he/she does not breathe (0 points), if he/she has slow (1 point) or irregular respirations or if he/she cries well (2 points).
  • Heart rate: if there is no heartbeat (0 points), if the heart rate is less than 100 beats/minute (1 point) or if it is greater than 100 beats/minute (2 points).
  • Muscle tone: if the muscles are flaccid (0 points), if there is some muscle tone (1 point) or if there is active movement (2 points).
  • Reflexes: if there is no reaction (0 points), if there is grimacing or grimacing (1 point) or if there is coughing and grimacing (2 points).
  • Skin color: if pale blue (0 points), if pink with blue extremities (1 point) and if all pink (2 points).

Why is the Apgar test performed?

This test is done to find out how the newborn has tolerated birth and how he/she is doing outside the womb to determine if he/she is having cardiac problems or needs help with breathing.

Meaning of abnormal Apgar test results

If the sum of the results is less than 7, it means the infant needs medical attention. Low scores are usually due to a cesarean section, a difficult delivery, or fluid in the baby’s airway. So, if the score is low, oxygen may be needed to help breathing or physical stimulation to help the heart beat healthily.

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In any case, keep in mind that it is normal to have a low score in the first minute. In addition, a low score does not mean that the newborn will have health problems in the future.