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Why your baby's APGAR score is important

When your new baby comes into the world, the urge to quickly hold him (or her) and establish a connection is natural. However, you may have to wait a few minutes while doctors give your newborn a quick bath, take their vitals, and establish an APGAR score. If you are unfamiliar with such a score and what it means regarding the health of your new baby, this post will provide some helpful background.

Essentially, an APGAR score is an assessment to measure a baby’s overall health directly after birth. It measures five indicators, including:

Appearance/skin color – Does the baby’s skin look, feel healthy

Pulse – Is it above or below 100 beats per minute?

Grimace – Does the child cry or pull away when stimulated?

Activity – Do the child’s arm and legs resist extension?

Respiration – Is the baby having trouble breathing or crying?

 

Points are given to each element and an overall score is given to assess the baby’s overall health. Most healthy babies score between 7 and 10, and scores under 6 could be cause for concern. A low APGAR score means that the baby has low vitality, and could be an indication that the baby could have been deprived of oxygen during the birth. It could also be a sign of brain damage, and the first indicators of cerebral palsy. With these options, doctors would want to rule out other issues that could be contributing to the score.

Regardless, the presence of a low APGAR score should lead to physicians taking reasonable steps to determine the issues behind it, and how to abate the problem.

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