Apgar Scores

Apgar scores are measurements and observations made by a health professional at 1 and 5 minutes after birth to assess a newborn's health.

The health professional checks 5 areas and gives the newborn a score ranging from 0 to 2 in each of the 5 areas. With 2 being the highest number a baby can get in each area, when the scores are added up, the maximum score is 10. A total score of 7 to 10 is normal.

The 5 areas checked include the newborn's:

  • Heart rate.
  • Skin colour.
  • Muscle tone (judged by whether the newborn's arms and legs are flexed or limp).
  • Breathing.
  • Reflex irritability (judged by whether the newborn cries or reacts when the skin is stroked or touched).

Is it an emergency?

If you or someone in your care has chest pains, difficulty breathing, or severe bleeding, it could be a life-threatening emergency. Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number immediately.
If you are concerned about a possible poisoning or exposure to a toxic substance, call Poison Control now at 1-800-567-8911.

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