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Apgar score - what's that?

Your baby will be checked at birth, and then again after the first five minutes, and given a score called the Apgar score.

The test is named after the doctor who first developed this checklist to give a quick picture of a new baby’s condition and help medical staff decide whether special care or some other help is needed.

Your baby is checked on:

Appearance (colour)

  • 0 for pale.
  • 1 for pink with blue hands and feet. 
  • 2 for pink all over (in black or Asian babies, the colour of the mouth, palms and soles of feet will be checked).

Pulse (heartbeat)

  • 0 if none can be found. 
  • 1 for a heartbeat below 100. 
  • 2 for a heartbeat above 100 beats per minute.

Grimace (a response to stimulation)

  • 0 if no response.
  • 1 if the baby grimaces. 
  • 2 if the baby responds with a strong cry.  

Activity (muscle tone)

  • 0 if the baby is weak or shows no activity.
  • 1 if the baby shows some limited movement.
  • 2 for strong movements.

Respiration (breathing) 

  • 0 for none.
  • 1 for slow and irregular breaths. 
  • 2 for good (usually involving crying!)

When the numbers are added up, the highest score is 10.

What does it mean?

  • Babies with an Apgar score of below 4 may need special care.
  • Babies with an Apgar score of between 4 and 6 may need resuscitation - medical staff will often clear out their airways and give oxygen to help them breathe. 
  • Babies with an Apgar score of 7 or better at one minute should do well. Babies with scores below 7 may need some careful watching.  

Comments

32 weeks now, tired and grumpy most of the time, still getting sporadic throwing up, my back and pelvis hurt like hell and I feel like a beached whale, can not wait for my little girl to get here. love her to bits but my first pregnancy so far has been horrible
32 weeks pregnant and back in hospital...the pain i thought was the baby kicking/ pushing my ribs, in reality its a swollen liver which maybe because of gallstones!!! Bring on results tmrw ;(
hey all, those who are saying ur waiting for ur mum to be pack ... the first pack u should have got with ur midwife when u first saw them, the second pack u get by filling in a form found inside the first pack - u fill it in and take it to a Boots and they hand u 1 (free), the 3rd i understand u get in the hospital after babies born. im 33 wks 2moro and ive had what others have told me an easy pregnancy, no sickness or cravings in first trimester and extra energy in the 2nd trimester now hitting 33 wks im getting extremely achey and baby getting what seems to b really heavy. only my right foot seems to swell which i find bizzare :) but have enjoyed my first pregnancy and still waiting for it to hit me that im guna have a baby in 7 wks!!
I'm 31+weeks and have been experiencing pain in my skin on bump and sides. Last week I had to noticeably slow down and I fall short of breath quickly. I still manage to swim, do antenatal classes, yoga and walk - unbelievably, I think summer may have finally arrived. Puffy feet are also a new entry. Can't wait to have my baby in my arms and my body to myself.
32 weeks today 8 weeks to go!!! sooooo tired and cant get comfortable wish i wasn't so uncomfortable when i walked anywhere ooooohhh not long till my little angel here now x
Hi I'm 32+ weeks today with my first baby and feeling positive. I am more tired now a days but still manage to do my Pilates and Yoga which really helps with aches and pains. The improvement with the weather has help also
How do they check children who are mixed race? White-Asian?
Hi I'm 32 weeks and even though I have sailed though this pregnancy my tummy is starting to really ache and making me feel slightly sick? Is this normal? regards I must say though the baby is moving lits and i have no signs of bleeding etc xx
Still waiting for my second bounty pack voucher???? Rubbish!!!!
I'm 31 weeks plus due match 2nd trusting God for a supernatural child birth and a healthy baby!
I am scared to death my late daughter apgar score was really poor due to placental abrubtion and she survived for 2 months......and now I am due on the 16 Dec 12....I am so nervous.
hi i still havent had my bounty mum to be pack voucher.thankyou
I'm due on the 11/11 it's going to be my first baby I'm feeling very emotional and overwhelmed by it all.My partner and family are chuffed to bits however it's still sinking in I've only know for 3 weeks...
Due on 10th September..I am so nervous, as it is my 1st.I am praying to get over with this asap.Already taking a toll on me:( back ache, fatigue, tiredness all alone , insomnia and ohhh not to forget,i feel im in the loo all along.
Wanted to send message to Sabina, then noticed how long ago it was posted, how are you getting on, if you still look at these emails? You can email me directly to normajeanmortensen@hotmail.co.uk if you still need some helpful words, I have a baby due soon but have a 6 year old son, I have much advice for anyone struggling as we struggled very much. Love and joy!
I'm 32 weeks with my fifth baby. I've gone over my due date on all of them so far, each one taking longer to arrive. First was 9 days late, 2nd was 10 days late, 3rd was 13 days late and the forth was 15 days late so Im not expecting this one to be early or on time either!!
I had my 4th baby 9 wk ago at 38 wk all my previous labours were fast but this one is deffo one for record books a 7 min labour (even poor baby was in shock) good job I was in hosp due to been induced (not via drip) good job I'm not having any more babies. All babies come when they want too but subsequent are supposed to be faster labour.
this is my fouth baby and i am 36weeks pregnant.will like to know 1:does fouth babies come earlier than their due date,2:does labour last long like the previous babies.
37wks now and gettin very tired now roll on tomorro an i'll b given date to go in an have my lil man cant wait
I am due in the first week of June, I have a 16 month son n I find it very hard to cope up, any tips would help. It's soo tiring as well.