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The Apgar Test at UPMC in Central Pa.

The Apgar test is given immediately after birth and quickly measures your baby’s physical condition and potential need for immediate medical care.

Apgar measures the following five factors:

  • Appearance
  • Pulse
  • Grimace response
  • Activity and muscle tone
  • Respiration

The test was developed in 1952 by an anesthesiologist named Virginia Apgar. The Apgar test is given at one minute after birth and repeated at five minutes after birth. If your baby’s care team has any concerns, or his or her score is low at five minutes, the test may be repeated a third time at 10 minutes after birth.

Apgar Score

Each of the five factors is scored on a scale of zero to two, with a total score of 10 being the highest. A score between seven and 10 is considered normal. A score of four to six may indicate that your baby needs oxygen, resuscitation and/or careful monitoring. A score of three or less indicates that your baby requires immediate resuscitation and lifesaving procedures.

A low score on the one-minute test may show that your baby requires medical attention, but may not necessarily indicate a long-term problem, particularly if your baby’s score on the five-minute test improves. The Apgar test is not an indicator of future health problems.

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