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APGAR evaluates your newborn’s well-being

For soon-to-be Washington parents, choosing the best doctor and hospital for their circumstances and family history is critical. While most births go smoothly, having an experienced medical team is essential if complications arise. At Elk & Elk Co., Ltd, we often help families fight for compensation for birth injuries due to negligence.

Your child is very busy in the first few minutes of her life. According to The Nemours Foundation, the APGAR occurs moments after birth. This is a newborn’s very first test. Medical professionals administer it at one minute after birth to determine the need for immediate medical treatment. At five minutes after birth, it assesses how she responded to previous measures if any.

Developed by Dr. Virginia Apgar, the test measures your child’s heart rate, reflexes, color muscle tone and breathing effort. Each condition below gets a score of between zero and two.

  • Appearance – Skin color range from pink to bluish-gray
  • Pulse – Heart rate average to absent
  • Grimace – Reflexes responding to stimulation
  • Activity – Muscle movement from active to floppy tone
  • Respiration – Good cry to no breathing

At the one minute test, scores between seven and ten indicate routine post-delivery care. Scores between four and six mean the child may need breathing assistance. Scores under four typically require life-saving measures.

At the five minute assessment, seven to ten is normal. If the score is below seven, the delivery team may re-administer the test every five minutes for up to 20 minutes.

There are many reasons a baby may have a low score at the one-minute evaluation, from premature birth to a high-risk pregnancy. By five minutes after birth, many children’s scores rise to normal. However, negligence during this time on the part of any member of the delivery team could result in long-term health issues. If you believe your child experienced an injury at or near the time of birth, you may have grounds for a claim. Visit our webpage for more information on this topic.