During the first few minutes after birth, your child will be evaluated to make sure he is adjusting to the new environment. Five vital signs will be watched carefully to assess your baby’s health. This test is called “Apgar Exam” named after Dr. Virginia Apgar an anesthesiologist who created this test to ascertain the effects of anesthesia on babies.
The scores vary from zero to two according to the baby’s condition and then added up to a total of ten. If your baby scores 7 to ten at one minute after birth, than he will need only a routine checkup. If he scores four to six, then he might require some assistance in breathing as suctioning the airways and if he scores less than four, then he needs an extra medical care.
At 5 minutes after birth, if you baby scores hasn’t improved to 7 or more, than he needs to be monitored closely and your doctor will determine what steps to be taken.
Here is the list of factors used to evaluate the baby’s wellbeing at birth:
|Heart Rate||Normal (above 100 beats/mn)||Below 100 beats per mn||Absent|
|Breathing||Normal, strong cry||Weak cry, irregular||Absent|
|Grimace (reflexe response)||Pulls away when stimulated, sneezes||Grimace only||No response|
|Muscle Tone||Active, well flexed||Some flexions of arms and legs||Limp, no movement|
|Color||Completely pink||Extremities blue||Blue, pale|
It is very important for new parents to know that the Apgar score is only a gross assessment of the baby’s condition; it is not designated to predict baby’s long term health, intellectual status or behavior. Keep in mind that low Apgar scores at one minute does not mean that your baby is not doing fine. Sometimes babies delivered by cesarean or after a complicated labor may show low scores. Most babies do very well at 5mn test, so relax and enjoy the birth of your child!