Birth Definitions

Apgar Score Definition


The Apgar score is a quick way to assess the health of a newborn baby immediately after birth. It is named after Dr. Virginia Apgar, who developed it in 1952. The score is based on a scoring system from 0 to 2 for five different categories: heart rate, respiratory effort, muscle tone, reflexes, and color. A total score of 10 is considered normal. 

The Apgar score is generally done at one minute and five minutes after birth, and sometimes also at 10 or 15 minutes after birth. It is important to remember that the Apgar score is only a snapshot; it does not provide information about how the baby will do in the future. 

There are some disadvantages to the Apgar score. One is that it does not take into account the whole picture; for example, it does not consider how well the baby is feeding or if there are any congenital anomalies present. Another disadvantage is that it can be influenced by factors such as whether or not the mother received pain medication during labor, which can make the baby appear more sleepy and less active (thus getting a lower score). 

Despite its limitations, the Apgar score remains an important tool in assessing newborn health. It is especially useful in identifying babies who need immediate medical attention after birth.

Other Related Terms

There are other terms related to the Apgar score that are important to know. The first is the base score, which is the score given at one minute after birth. This is important because it can give a clue as to how the baby was doing during labor and delivery. 

The second term is the adjusted score, which takes into account any factors that may have influenced the base score. For example, if the mother received pain medication during labor, the adjusted score would be higher than the base score. 

The third term is the composite score, which is the average of the base score and the adjusted score. This is important because it gives a more accurate picture of how the

This image shows how often the term ‘Apgar Score’ is used in relation to other, similar birth terms:

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