Named after the physician who developed the method, the Apgar score ascertains a baby’s postbirth health quickly and thoroughly based on the criteria below:
How pink is baby’s complexion? Blue skin warrants a score of 0, while a baby with a pink body and blue extremities will receive a 1. All-over rosy-hued babies merit a 2.
To be awarded a 2 for this benchmark, babies must have a heart rate of 100 beats per minute or more.
If your newborn reacts to stimulation (usually a flick on the sole of his foot or other type of action that would cause a response) in an appropriate manner (i.e., crying or pulling away), he’ll get a 2. Weaker reflexes such as a feeble cry or slight grimace would constitute a 1, and no reaction to stimulus would receive a 0.
Flexed arms and legs are the bar setters for this section. If your baby resists leg extensions, he’ll get high marks.
Wailing, lusty cries from your babe may be distressing to you, but they’re just what he needs to pass his breathing test right after birth.
Apgar scores are taken both 1 and 5 minutes after birth, and reported as a total score from 0 to 10. The higher each number—especially the second—is, the better.