APGAR Scale Test
As soon as your baby makes his or her grand entrance into the world, she will be given an APGAR test. This test helps your doctor or midwife to evaluate your baby's condition and determine if he or she needs any treatment. It is quick and painless, and if the test indicates your baby is in distress, doctors can administer necessary medical attention immediately.
The APGAR scale and testing methods were developed in the 1950s by noted obstetric anesthesiologist Dr. Virginia Apgar. Your baby is first tested one minute after birth to determine how well he or she experienced the birth process, and then again at five minutes after birth, to determine how well he or she is adjusting to life outside the womb or responding to any medical procedures.
The test is not only named after Dr. Apgar, it is also an acronym for the five characteristics on which your baby is tested: Appearance, Pulse, Grimace (reflex response), Activity (muscle tone), and Respiration. Your baby is given a score between zero and two for each characteristic and then the scores are combined. Very few babies score a perfect ten - even perfectly healthy ones - particularly at the one minute test. A score of between 7 and 10 indicates your baby is in good shape and doesn't require any extraordinary medical attention, while a score between four and six indicates your baby is in fair condition and may need some help breathing. The nurse or pediatrician may administer oxygen under your baby's nose or vigorously rub her skin to aid circulation and respiration. If your baby scores under four, she is considered to be in poor condition and may require more serious, immediate measures such as oxygen administered from an oxygen mask.
The following is a breakdown of the APGAR scale:
0 - Baby's entire body is bluish-gray or pale
1 - Baby's body has good color, with a bluish tinge to the feet or hands
2 - Good color over entire body
0 - No heart beat
1 - Fewer than 100 beats per minute
2 - More than 100 beats per minute
0 - No response when airways are suctioned
1 - Baby grimaces during suctioning
2 - Baby grimaces and pulls away, coughs, or sneezes during suctioning
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