THE APGAR score is something you probably won’t be familiar with until you have a baby.

At that point, it becomes incredibly important as the health of your child depends on it.

How your baby responds or breathes in the first 20 minutes after birth is important - this baby has a strong cry and was perfectly fine


How your baby responds or breathes in the first 20 minutes after birth is important – this baby has a strong cry and was perfectly fineCredit: Tim Clopp

The APGAR score is a tool used by midwives and doctors to speedily check the baby after birth.

They do this at one and five minutes after being born for all babies.

Any little ones needing resuscitation will then also get scores at ten, 15 and 20 minutes after birth.

Tiny Hearts Education explains: “Each area is given a score from 0-2, and the total score is out of 10.

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“A score of 0-3 indicates a baby needing immediate resuscitation. A score of 4-7 shows a bub needing some help adjusting to being earthside.

“A score of 7-10 indicates that at this point, little one is doing well and adjusting as hoped.

“It’s normal and expected that the score at 5 minutes would be higher than at 1 minute as bub has had time to adapt to the big, bright world.

“In saying that, if your bub scores a nine at 1 minute, and nine at 5 minutes, this is still normal.”

The letters stand for something different that needs checking.

A is for appearance, P is for pulse, G is for grimace, A is for activity and R is for respirations.

If the baby is blue or pale they get scored a 0, if they have a pink chest and face with blue arm and legs they get a 1 and if all pink they are scored at 2.

If they have no heart rate they get a 0, if it’s less than 100 beats a minute it’s a 1 and if it is more than 100 beats per minute the baby is a 2.

Grimace means how well they are responding to stimulation and what their reflexes are like.

So 0 means no response after birth, 1 is poor reflexes and responses to stimulation and 2 is good reflexes, like crying.

How the baby is moving is also important – activity – and this is scored as 0 if they are floppy, 1 if there is some extension of the limbs and 2 if they are actively moving.

If the baby is taking in no breaths they are scored as a 0, if they have a weak cry or slow and irregular breaths they are a 1 and if they have a strong cry and good breaths they are noted down as a 2.

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While it would be scary to hear your baby being given low scores, it doesn’t necessarily mean something will be wrong in the long-term.

It is largely just to let the medical experts ensure they are doing well and if they need help quickly.

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