First Tests—What Is the APGAR?
It may sound scary that your baby is ‘tested’ right from birth, but it’s actually a harmless process doctors use to assess how your baby is adjusting to the outside world. Called the “APGAR,” this test is used to evaluate your baby’s initial vital signs and appearance at birth, and then again in five minutes after birth.
The baby’s skin/appearance, heart rate, respiration and muscle tone and response to the outside world are given a score of zero, one or two, with the maximum of ten points given. The average score is seven, so don’t be disappointed or worried if your baby isn’t a perfect ten.
Even a score of between four and six isn’t a big concern. Your baby needs extra help breathing in the beginning. The doctor may suction his or her nose and air way, massage the chest or even administering oxygen. However, a score of less than three means your baby may need intensive life-saving measures.