Low Apgar

Apgar scores are a quick evaluation of the health of a newborn. The term was derived from Dr. Virginia Apgar who developed a simple replicable method to quickly and summarily assess the health of a newborn. While Apgar scores in themselves were never intended to predict developmental problems, a very low score can indicate a risk of future disabilities.

The APGAR test is done in order to determine just how well the baby managed to tolerate the effects of childbirth. The APGAR test is carried out anytime between 1-5 minutes after the birth. The test may rarely be done in a 10 minute window but not beyond that point.

At DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers, new parents often contact us when they have concerns about their baby's health following delivery. Our Syracuse and Upstate, New York based lawyers have helped many families affected by birth or labor complications.

If your baby was born with serious health issues, our birth injury attorneys have the experience to determine whether the hospital was negligent and pursue compensation to help you meet your child's needs.

Call 315-479-9000 today. Consultations are always free.

What is an Apgar score?

The APGAR test may be performed on the child in order to ascertain health and whether the child needs any assistance. This test may be carried out by a nurse, doctor, or midwife.

The test is given twice: one minute and five minutes after birth. Each area is given a score from 0 - 2. The highest Apgar score is a 10. A score of zero to three is considered very low. However, if the baby's score improves within 20 minutes after birth, parents should be less concerned about a low score.

Five Areas that the APGAR Score Evaluates

Breathing Effort

The breathing effort of the baby is checked immediately after childbirth to ascertain whether the child needs assisted breathing. The test may be scored a zero in case the baby isn't breathing. A 1 is allotted when the infant is taking slow or irregular breaths. A 2 is scored when the infant is crying without hindrance.

Heart Rate

The heart rate of the infant is monitored using a stethoscope and is the most important factor that requires assessment. If there is no heartbeat then a zero is assigned. A heart rate less than a 100 beats per minute will be scored a 1 and a heart rate greater than 100 beats per minute will score a 2.

Muscle Tone

Loose muscles will lead to a zero in the APGAR test whereas a small amount of muscle tone will mean a score of 1. If the baby shows signs of active motion, then the doctor will assign a 2 for muscle tone.


The reflexes of the infant will be tested based on the grimace response or the irritability; this test will be carried out through physical stimulation such as a small pinch. No reaction to the pinch will result in a zero score in terms of reflexive irritability. If the child grimaces in response, then the doctor will assign a 1. In case the baby responds with a sneeze, cough or loud cries then the baby will be assigned as core of 2.

Skin Color

The color of the baby is assessed for any blue spots. If the infant is born with entirely pale blue skin then the doctor will assign a zero on the APGAR test. Blue extremities will result in a 1 whereas an entirely pink skinned body will result in a 2.

Preterm babies often receive low Apgar scores, but not always. Low Apgar scores may also be linked to a birth injury suffered during labor and delivery.

Medical Malpractice Attorneys Serving Syracuse, Upstate New York and Surrounding Areas

If you are concerned about your child's low Apgar score at birth, please call our Syracuse office at 315-479-9000 for a free consultation. You will never be responsible for legal fees unless we are able to recover compensation for your child.

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