The test has been criticised for being too simple but remains one of the first assessments your baby will have. The first assessment is given at 1 minutes after birth, the second after 5 minutes.
A score of 0, 1 or 2 is given for each of the following characteristics: Appearance
The APGAR test checks the following signs in a newborn baby:
0 = blue/pale all over
1 = blue at extremities
2 = pink
0 = no pulse
1 = less than 100 beats per minute
2 = more than 100 beats per minute
Grimace (Irritability to response)
0 = no response
1 = grimace or feeble cry to pain stimulus
2 = cry or pull away from pain stimulus
0 = none, floppy
1 = some flexing of limbs
0 = no breathing
1 = weak, gasping or irregular breathing
2 = strong loud cry
What does the score show?
Most newborn babies are given a score above 7 and need no further help. An Apgar Score of 5-7 may indicate help is needed with breathing – probably nothing more than vigorously rubbing the baby’s body. If a baby had a score below 5 after five minutes, a paediatrician would be called. The baby would be placed into a hot cot or resuscitation trolley that is in every delivery room and be given oxygen, or in extreme cases, emergency first aid to attempt to encourage him to breathe.
A low score does not necessarily mean that your baby has a long-term problem. It is likely to be lower if you have had a complicated birth, have given birth prematurely, or even had pethidine during labour.