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APGAR Scoring on Newborns

Posted June 6th, 2011 in Babies, birth, Birth Doula, Fresno birth, Fresno Birth Doula, Newborns, Uncategorized by Kathryn DiPalma

When I am at a birth, I hear numbers being given at the one and five minute mark after a birth.  Below is a great article which explains what these numbers mean.

 

APGAR Score for Newborns:  Your Baby’s First Test

By Robin Elise Weiss, LCCE , About.com Guide

Newborns have a tough transition from being in the uterus to the outside world. The vast majority do just fine, but the APGAR Score has come about as a way to give a numerical representation to how well the newborn baby is adjusting. This is done by the midwife, nurse or doctor at one minute and five minutes after the birth. Your baby may also be given an APGAR score at 10 minutes if the first scores were low.
The APGAR Score ranges from 0-10, with 10 being the highest score a baby can get. The baby is given points in five categories:

• skin color
• heart rate
• respiratory effort
• muscle tone
• reflex irritability

In each of the categories, a baby can ear 0, 1, or 2 points. The points from each of the categories are added together for the total score. While these scores are done, they are not as useful as you might believe.

For example, if your baby is born and is visibly struggling, no one will wait until the one minute mark and subsequent APGAR score to assist your baby. APGAR scores are not translatable to later test scores, like the SAT or ACT, either.

The APGAR score was developed by Dr. Virginia Apgar, an anesthesiologist, in 1952. She used her last name as the acronym:

• A = Activity
• P = Pulse
• G = Grimace
• A = Appearance
• R = Respiration

Sources:
Obstetrics: Normal and Problem Pregnancies. Gabbe, S, Niebyl, J, Simpson, JL. Fifth Edition.

KidsHealth.org. What Is An Apgar Score? Accessed 1/25/11 http://kidshealth.org/parent/pregnancy_center/q_a/apgar.html

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