How to Interpret a Baby's Apgar Score

By Prev Info - February 19, 2022

Interpret a Baby's Apgar Score

Babies are given a test at birth. This test, called the Apgar score, allows doctors to evaluate a newborn's physical condition after delivery to determine if there is a need for extra medical care. Apgar is an acronym for Activity, Pulse, Grimace, Appearance and Respiration. A baby's score can range from one to ten. A baby who scores a seven or above, one minute after birth, is usually considered healthy.


1 - Decipher the activity score.

 A Zero means the baby has no movement and is "floppy." Baby receives a One if the arms and legs flex with little movement. Baby scores a Two if he or she is active and moves spontaneously.

2 - Understand the pulse grade. 

A baby gets a Zero if the pulse is absent. If the heart rate is below 100 beats/minute, he or she receives a One; a Two if the heart rate is above 100 beats per minute.

3 - Decode the grimace score, sometimes referred to as the reflex or responsiveness score. 

If the baby does not respond to stimuli, the score is Zero. If baby makes a face (grimaces) when stimulated or suctioned, the score is One. If he or she sneezes, coughs or pulls away from the stimuli, the score is Two.


4 - Interpret the appearance grade. 

A baby that is pale or blue/grey receives a Zero score. If a baby is normal colored but has blue hands or feet, he or she scores a One. If baby is pink all over, including appendages, he or she gets a Two.


5 - Comprehend the respiration score. 

If the baby is not breathing, the score is Zero. If the breathing is slow or irregular or he or she has a weak cry, the score is One. If baby's breathing is at a normal rate and takes a normal effort, with a lusty cry, he or she gets a Two.