If you're an expecting parent or in the medical field, you've probably heard of the Apgar score. But what exactly is it? And why is it so important? Fear not my friend, for we will be discussing everything Apgar related (and trust me, it's more exciting than watching paint dry).
What is the Apgar Score?
First things first - let's understand what this famous score means. The Apgar score, named after Dr. Virginia Apgar who created it in 1952, is a quick assessment conducted at one minute and five minutes after a baby's birth to evaluate their physical condition. The test checks on five areas: heart rate, breathing effort, muscle tone, reflex irritability and skin color (which forms an acronym ABCs).
How does each category affect your child’s final score? Here are some possible grades:
|Heart Rate||Absent(0) / Below 100 bpm(1/2) / Above 100 bpm(2)|
|Breathing Effort||Absent(0) /Weak/Crying(mostly weak)(1)/Strong cry(Effortful crying)(2)|
|Muscle Tone||Flaccid(Appear relaxed/no visible movement)(0)/Some flexion(Partial contraction of limb position at rest/carry out extremes of ROM )(1)|
|Reflex Irritability Active not present(None observed when stimulation applied via suction bulb next to nostril Na+ eye can dissolve mucous transient restoration but no return > limp.Two pt corners mouth cause grimace.Fire arm move elbow & finger O-U.Loud sound causes a startle.(0)/Grimace(Curling of lip on side OR grimacing)(1)/Vocally reactive cry or sneeze, vigorous motion(jumping reflex). (2)|
|Skin Color||Blue, pale(0), Body pink but extremities blue/pale(1), completely pink skin tone(2)|
Once each category has been evaluated and scored, the scores are added up - this results in a final Apgar score between 0-10 where any score greater than seven indicates that the baby is in good health.
Why is it important?
The Apgar test provides quick assurance whether your new spawn-of-a-being has an appropriate amount of oxygen flowing through their body thus making sure they're perfectly healthy while also identifying anything that would require emergency care afterwards.
Preparing for the Apgar Test
Now that we know what to expect from an Apgar test let's have a look at how you can prep yourself for one. Please note: as parents you don't need to prepare much! If anything...the doctors should be preparing themselves more!
Keep Calm and Breathe
Firstly, take deep breaths (which might be difficult if you are experiencing painful contractions as I would assume). Fortunately once your bubba makes his/her appearance he/she will scream to inflate those cute little lungs even though sound made by newborn babies may not exactly resemble screaming - rather more like grunting noises. This breathing effort impacts their first Agressiveness points.
Controlling Your Environment
Secondly do whatever necessary so that baby feels comfortable but make sure anything extra which comes along with child birth like people crowding around stays out of sight until after tests complete since changing environment from day one can cause some negative emotional reaction(but then again..if u want ur little ones’ party crashers at least leave them to crowd outside the delivery room...most bizarre kind of destination celebration idea I've come across today).
The Apgar Scores: How It All Works
So your little one has arrived into this world (yay!). Now it’s time for some assessment. Let's take a step-by-step look at how the Apgar score is evaluated:
Step 1 - Heart Rate
At one minute after birth, check your baby's heart rate by placing a stethoscope on their chest. If no stethoscope is available you can also check it just by palpating their umbilical cord while there they are clamped. Finally if both options aren't available because for instance jungle walk was mandatory during child bearin' then you would have felt very fortunate had all ingredients required to make fire present on point and wouldn’t worry about palpatin’ anything but instead might get advantage of leaving behind burn marks at official records office (Kidding!! Please don't use that as an excuse).
The table mentioned earlier splits down what results in each scoring section.
Step 2 - Breathing Effort
Record breathing effort observing sound made when they first cry out....hey parents we know you’ll count every moment since he leaves your body to ensure everything is ok ...and may need help concentrating or cannot remember whether lil kiddo yelled like Demi Lovato or sang like Celine Dion. Always ask someone else representing weak memory banks! That way we will avoid getting different types of scores than intended!
Step 3 - Muscle Tone
Next, measure muscle tone i.e tension in extensors and flexors: “the tightness versus looseness” concept in absence of gross abnormalities such as Tremors/jerking/fixed positioning/multiple joint contractures/ paralysis /atrophy (talk about jargon central right?) . Simply speaking, this means being able to assess whether the baby is floppy (relaxed with little or no movement) or stiff (tense/firm/explicit limb movement).
Step 4 - Reflex Irritability
This step involves evaluating your child’s response and resistance while doctors stimulate his/her skin thus checking if reflexes are properly developed like coughing/sneezing/muscular responses.
Step 5- Skin Color
Lastly, examine baby's overall body appearance. This quickly helps detect hypoxia(low level of oxygen): the main reason for infants not achieving a score higher than seven. If color very pale or dusky that would be a alarm Bella!! But panic not remember your little siblings opening their eyes after sleeping...initially....their face shows nothing ....just peaceful sleep ...(or something like that although I've never actually had any younger siblings)...So yeah this concept still applies!
Congratulations on becoming parents! Even though the Apgar test sounds daunting especially when you're sleep deprived imaginations running wild and hoping everything goes well in addition to coexisting COVID anxieties, now you know what it entails making sure once it's over you can rest easy knowing all is right in your offspring world!
To end off training wheels always comes first before understanding how to ride without them hence why APGAR scores necessary at birth but as days go by other milestones need tracking too so let us also pay attention for regular check-ups obviously whilst cracking some jokes here there(the awkward times during new parenthood are honestly worth it)!