What are APGAR scores, and why are they important?

You deliver your new baby hoping she is healthy, and the medical staff has a scoring system that can help determine the overall health of your infant. The APGAR scoring system, named in the 1950s after its creator, nurse Virginia Apgar, helps doctors and APGAR scorenurses evaluate a newborn in the following ways:

  • Appearance: skin coloring
  • Pulse: healthy, steady heart rate
  • Grimace: normal facial expressions
  • Activity: normal joint and muscle function
  • Respiration: healthy rate and quality of breathing

How Does the Scoring Work?

At 5 minutes and then 10 minutes after birth, a doctor or nurse will use the APGAR scoring system in the delivery room to evaluate a baby’s overall health. A perfect APGAR score is 10, and each component can earn 0 points, 1 point, or 2 points. All five scores are compiled to get the APGAR score. Additionally, the score is recalculated more than once to give a baby a chance to improve with time.

If Your Baby Has a Low APGAR Score

A baby with a score of 6 or lower is at a high risk of hypoxia, which occurs when sufficient oxygen does not reach important parts of the infant’s body. If a baby scores low even 10 or 30 minutes after birth, the child will need medical intervention. Often, hypoxia can result in both temporary and permanent injury, including:

  • Brain damage
  • Tissue damage
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Cognitive deficiencies

If you have questions about the APGAR scoring system, or if your baby was injured during delivery, the experienced lawyers at Holton Law Firm are here to help. Request a FREE copy of our book, Answers to Parents’ Questions About Birth Injuries today.