Apgar: What is it? What do scores mean?


A lot of myth and mystery surrounds what this score means. Parents get nervous that a low Apgar score means the baby will have significant problems either in the near future or later on in life. This is not the case just as it is not true that having a high score eliminates the possibility of future difficulties. The score's only purpose is to alert the health-care provider that the baby may need assistance. It also allows the provider to monitor the effectiveness of any interventions. If the score goes up, it implies interventions are working.

A lot of research has been done looking at the Apgar score to see if it can be used to predict those who will have problems such as learning difficulties, cerebral palsy, seizures, etc. These studies have shown it to not be reliably predictive proving that the score is great for what Dr. Apgar originally intended it to be and nothing else: A quick, easy way of figuring out if a baby needs help.

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