After childbirth, the medical personnel checks the health of the baby through the Apgar score. This article talks about how to interpret that score.
What Is the Apgar Score?
It is an examination of newborn babies immediately after birth. The health official checks vital signs such as the baby’s pulse, reflexes, muscle tone, and many other health indicators. If the desired boundaries are not met, the mother will be advised to take extra precautions medically. Additionally, the health personnel monitors the baby for emergency medical care needs. They administer it a minute after the baby is born and five minutes later.
Apgar is an acronym for the following: appearance, pulse, grimace, activity and respiration.
Ordinary skin color should appear all over the body. However, if the feet and hands appear bluish, there might be a problem.
A baby’s pulse should be over 100 beats per minute. A slower heartbeat calls for attention.
Active movements are excellent for the baby. If there is limited flexing of legs and arms, it demands attention.
This criterion looks at breathing ability and effort: The baby should cry immediately following birth. If there is laborious and intermittent breathing, there might be a health problem. However, a good cry and a regular breathing rate are healthy.
The person who invented the assessment system in 1952 is Dr. Virginia Apgar. The evaluation system is an efficient method of evaluating the medical status of your newborn.
How to Interpret the Results
The highest total score is 10; each category can be scored with zero, one, or two. A healthy baby should have an Apgar score of seven or higher. The respiration, grimace, and activity scores should ideally be two. Additionally, the appearance and pulse scores should preferably be at least one.
Newborns take some time to warm up their bodies and adjust to the environment. Therefore, even healthy babies may get lower scores during the one-minute test. If the second score is a replica of the first, there is a need for close monitoring. It is important to keep in mind, however, that this is not a conclusive method of monitoring the overall health of the newborn.
Causes of a Low Score
During the initial test, a baby might get a low score for several reasons:
After the newborn receives expert medical care, the score may rise. When the baby gets a low score only in one area, the medical personnel will likely eradicate the issue that caused it. For example, a weak heartbeat can be remedied with measures to boost blood supply through the umbilical cord. For the ones who require extra support, the health official might recommend kangaroo care—holding the baby on your chest with skin-to-skin contact—and other methods. These will boost the reflexes or the muscle tone for active mobility. A baby with a weak breathing score might have air suction to eliminate any mucus obstructing airways, or the baby might be given extra oxygen through various means.
Unfortunately, in some instances, a low score may signify crucial neurological conditions in the future of the baby. They include neonatal depression disorders like apnea, neonatal sepsis, bradycardia, hypotonia and cyanosis. Some congenital malformations cause a significantly low score. They include cerebral palsy, mental retardation, cognitive impairment, epilepsy and neurological disability. A poor score may also indicate a higher rate of neonatal death.
Parents should not worry if their babies have low Apgar scores. The score itself does not determine the entire medical life of newborns. Most babies usually need some time to adjust to the new surroundings after the womb. Therefore, parents should not focus on a single figure on the day of birth. After the medical professionals carry out further tests, they will advise you on how to address any issues the score may have highlighted.