APGAR is a quick test performed at 1 and 5 minutes after birth. The 1-minute score determines how well the baby tolerated the birthing process. The 5-minute score assesses how well the newborn is adapting to the new environment.
The rating is based on a total score of 1 to 10, with 10 suggesting the healthiest infant.
The APGAR test is done by a doctor, midwife, or nurse. The health care provider will examine the baby's:
Each category is scored with 0, 1, or 2, depending on the observed condition.
This test is a screening tool to determine whether a newborn needs medical attention to stabilize the heart or breathing function.
A score of 8 or 9 is normal and indicates the newborn is in good condition. A score of 10 is very unusual, since almost all newborns lose 1 point for blue hands and feet, which is normal for the transitional phase after birth.
Any score lower than 8 indicates the child needs assistance. Scores below 5 indicate that the infant needs immediate assistance in adjusting to his or her new environment. However, a child who has a low score at 1 minute and a normal score at 5 minutes should not have any long-term problems.
The APGAR test has no risks. It is very safe.
Review Date: 11/30/2009
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